Back for its third summer, the Merge is planning to continue its mission to “merge” teens together for a four-day youth ministry event – something that the youth pastors like to refer to as “four days of youth group.”
Just like any regular youth group, The Merge will be focused on games, worship, and teaching. Their theme this year is “Set Free,” and youth leaders will be talking about Moses and the Israelites. Speakers include Clifton Curry, Brad Gouwens, Ryan Poling, and Jeff Sibley.
One change that Clifton Curry, a youth pastor from Mountain View Church, noted was that this year “we’re focusing more on social gatherings rather than games. We saw that they liked to hang out and talk, so this is a chance to hang out with each other.”
In addition, they’re going to have food provided during the event including tacos, hot dogs, and sno cones.
Another change Curry mentioned was that this year, while there will still be games and prizes, they’re going to be won differently. Rather than use “Merge Bucks,” like in past years, they’re making each night “its own individual entity.” Teens will have the chance to win prizes like a smart watch, longboard, and hammock by participating in more “game show” activities, with participants chosen via a drawing.
“The more stuff you do, the better the chance you get picked,” Curry explained.
Activities that can put your name into the drawing more including bringing a friend or reciting the memory verse.
Aside from the change in game and prize-winning style, the Merge looks a lot like it did last year: an event for teens, no matter their church affiliation, to come together and fellowship with one another in a safe environment.
Those entering high school and those who have just graduated (“super seniors”) are welcome to attend the event.
The Merge will run from Monday, July 23 to Thursday, July 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at The River Community Church, 1351 E. G St., Oakdale. For more information and event registration, visit themergeoakdale.com.