Heritage Baptist Church hosts weekend worship

%22Church+Under+the+Bridge%22+featuring+Streamline+youth+group+taking+part+in+worship.+Photo+by+David+Farren+with+graphics+by+Caroline+Purtle

"Church Under the Bridge" featuring Streamline youth group taking part in worship. Photo by David Farren with graphics by Caroline Purtle

Vertical weekend is an annual event where students in 6th-12th grade are able to escape their normal routine and habitat to focus on their spiritual walk and sharing their faith through service projects. It is held at Heritage Baptist Church and managed through the Streamline youth group. This year’s theme was Transformed, based off of the verse Romans 12:2.

“I knew a lot of people going, but I went because I felt like it was needed,” junior Trevor Danley said. “It was a last minute decision.”

The reason for students attending this event lied between either feeling spiritually led or just because their friends went.

“I went because I love these types of things and it refreshes my walk with Christ,” sophomore Lauren Carter said.

The goal of Vertical weekend is to keep the mind sets of students between them and Christ. Encouraging “vertical” worship and ignoring the “horizontal” things around them. The students stay at host homes where they get quality time with those in their grade and their assigned college leader. After each worship service and sermon the grades would gather back at the host home for a small group session.

“In the host homes I was surrounded by my friends,” Carter said, “even by people I didn’t know and they made me feel like family to them.”

College aged leaders are assigned as counselors over the students for the weekend. Most students feel more comfortable being able to connect with a younger adult who has recently experienced and encountered struggles similar to theirs.

“It’s a much better experience with a college leader because they or have been through similar experiences that we are going through,” Danley said, “which makes it easier to open up to them.”

These college leaders led sessions where students had the opportunity to get deep with one another. During these discussions the students dug deep into each other’s story and provide advice and accountability to help encourage insight of hope to their struggles.

“The small group sessions were really great,” Carter said. “We all got really deep with each other and helped each other grow spiritually.”

Streamline also uses this weekend as a way to focus on those in need. Each year they have helped out with Church Under the Bridge. This is a church made up of a minister and a couple musicians and the congregation consists of the community of homeless in downtown Texarkana. This year the youth group was in charge of visiting with the members, leading worship and giving the sermon.

“Visiting Church Under the Bridge is definitely eye-opening,” sophomore Daylan O’Neal said. “The people there are less fortunate financially than some people, but every single one of them has a kind of heart that most people don’t have.”

O’Neal also had the opportunity to lead the worship service for Church Under the Bridge.

“Seeing people of all types and from all different backgrounds coming together to worship is inspiring,” O’Neal said. “It really touched my heart and left me with an experience that I’ll remember.”