‘Teen Church’ planted
Published 9:54 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2015
A new church in Suffolk is geared specifically toward teens and holds Sunday services as well as multiple ministries during the week.
Co-pastors Bonnie and Glenn Bradshaw said they came up with the idea and contacted one of the deacons at New Vision Ministries, where they are members. New Vision agreed to give them part of the space it rents in a four-church building adjacent to the Pruden Center, at 4165 Pruden Blvd.
“I guess part of it is the way I grew up,” Bonnie Bradshaw said. “Our family didn’t have much money. I struggled in school, and there was just no help.”
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Her husband, Glenn Bradshaw, said the church aims to cater to teens, particularly those who are not used to church.
“It’s an avenue to get kids into church that have never been to church,” he said. “We want the kids that are unchurched.”
Having been foster parents for more than 20 years, the Bradshaws are no strangers to having multiple young people around. Bonnie Bradshaw estimated they’ve had about 400 foster children in their home over the years. They adopted several and also have three biological children.
As such, they’re familiar with the challenges teens face.
“Kids struggle in different areas in school, and it’s not just with subjects but also emotionally,” Bonnie Bradshaw said.
The church holds a Wednesday night Bible study from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday nights from 7 to 9 are the “Mind Matters” support group.
“It’s for anybody that needs to come and talk,” Bonnie Bradshaw said.
On Fridays from 7 to 9 p.m., fun night is held with games, a café and more. Billiards and air hockey are among the many activities to choose from.
Once a month, movie night is held.
In general, the church is a hangout spot anytime school isn’t in session, Bonnie Bradshaw said.
“I’m usually here every day,” she said, adding she remains the secretary for New Vision Ministries.
On Sunday mornings, a free community breakfast is served at 9, followed by Sunday service.
“We ask not to bring kids on Sunday morning under the age of 13 because of some of the topics we are dealing with,” Glenn Bradshaw said. “We preach on topics that are geared toward the teens.”
Depression and relationships are frequently discussed, he added. The Bradshaws trade off delivering the message on Sunday mornings.
Glenn Bradshaw said there’s no dress code at the church.
“We’re not asking people who show up to be perfect,” Bonnie Bradshaw said. “Christ accepted everybody for what they were right then, so how can we do any different?”
Folks who can volunteer their time as tutors or mentors are needed, Bonnie Bradshaw said.
The church also is trying to grow its food pantry and clothes closet, so donations of both are needed. A refrigerator to keep perishable food is the main wish right now, Bradshaw said.
The ministry also is praying for a small bus or 15-passenger van that can provide transportation to the church for those in need of it for any of its services.
Anybody who can help or wants more information can call Bonnie Bradshaw at 354-5958.