Woodbridge Youth Change “WAYS”

Woodbridge Youth Change “WAYS”

When attendance numbers for the church’s youth program started to shrink, members at the Woodbridge Spanish church (Va.) decided it was time to refocus and create a dynamic, multifaceted group with a positive identity. The group began by changing its name to WAYS—Woodbridge Adventist Youth Society—and developing a logo they put on shirts.

Story by Tiffany Doss

“It really helped us cement our identity,” says Adalid Duran, former youth director at Woodbridge Spanish. “Adults have supported us by purchasing the shirts for themselves. Whenever we see them wear it, it visually confirms the support they have for our ministry. We wanted the vision to extend past the youth and be perceived by adults as well.”

The group wants to focus on providing training for its leaders, spiritual mentoring and intentional prayer. They have begun choosing monthly themes to cover during the weekly programs. They’ve reopened a youth home church, increased their social media presence and started a youth-led prayer network.

WAYS members prepare to visit elderly people fighting Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

WAYS members prepare to visit elderly people fighting Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Since revamping the program the group has grown in energy and participation. “Revamping enabled us to find leadership areas each person likes and is strong in. This has given them a greater sense of ownership to that role and the group,” says Duran. “The best part has been watching the younger leaders blossom once they were given the responsibility.”

Duran says many teens have gone above and beyond, and have become mini-leaders in their own right. One young man, who tends to be shy, led a prayer group for upcoming events where more than 20 young people participated.

“This was a blessing for the whole congregation. Our church has a prayer group and the numbers had been dwindling, so they joined the young prayer group that morning. It was a huge blessing,” Duran adds.

Overall, Duran says the church has a different atmosphere now— it is more youthful, creative and inviting. “We are really excited for the future, and [we will] continue developing this program and our young people as leaders,” she says.

Feature Photo: WAYS members Domingo Suriel, Andrew Vela and Rebeca Jovel help children from the community ride horses. 

Read this article in Spanish.