Dave Newkirk. Student Ministries Pastor | Email: david.newkirk@churchoftheopendoor.com
Weekly meetings: Tuesday nights 7:00-8:30pm and Sunday mornings 9:00-10:30am @ Hillside
Our Student Ministries exist to teach and model for our students what it means to be a biblical disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ in a world that is filled with bad ideas and depraved behavior. We want to do this by: challenging our students continually with the Word of God, modeling and practicing living in a healthy, Christ-centered community, entering into personal, one-on-one discipleship relationships and constantly wondering about the purpose and calling the Living God has given us!
It is with great sadness that we share that our daughter, Abigail Faith Kozelchik, passed away on Friday, February 17, and went to be with her Savior. We are devastated and we grieve for Abby.
Yet we do not grieve without hope.  We have great hope, because we know that Abby knew Jesus, and had deep faith in His redeeming work on the cross. We are convinced that Jesus’ promise of eternal life is real and true, and because of that, we have peace about the future, both here and in Heaven.
There were about 700 people at Abby’s memorial service. We are overwhelmed with all the love and support we have received. Please know that we are deeply grateful for each person, card, gift and message of love and support and wish we could thank each of you individually. It is very meaningful to us that you all showed up both at the service and in our lives and we are profoundly grateful.

We love you all. —Meredith and Kristian Kozelchik

How To Give Your Children Bad News Concerning Church
Ed’s Notes from Bob Noonan & Dr. Mark Laaser

When giving children bad news about their church, especially if it involves a tragedy, the number one expressed wound years later has been, “I wish they would have told me.”

Here are some bullet truths to guide you in this difficult assignment in parenting:

  • Model honesty. We heal in the context of truth. There are age appropriate ways of telling the truth, but the children must not suspect a cover up to “make Jesus look good.” Keep in mind that the older children or adolescents may tell younger siblings or friends what they know.
  • Model feelings. We don’t know what to do with our feelings if it seems we’re the only ones feeling this way. It’s entirely appropriate to let the child know that this news “makes me sad, heartbroken, confused.”
  • Tell the truth about what God has done to step into this tragedy. Rehearse these with the child because this probably may have been his/her first experience with this type of heartache.
  • Anticipate a season of healing. Let them know that your highest priority is to process this with them. The deeper their relationship with this person, the longer the season of healing will take.

  Jr. High Winter Camp Recap

“Over weekend we witnessed students engaging with God’s Word in such a way that reintroduced the power of the gospel in their lives. We love every opportunity to spend time with these kids, but nothing makes it quite as exciting as snowball fights and Jesus!”
David Newkirk, Youth Pastor, reflecting on Junior High Winter Camp February 10-12

High School Winter Camp Recap

by Kris Hoffman, high school leader (and COD missionary) 
Heather and I have been so blessed to continue to be a part of the COD youth group leadership while we wait for God to provide the means for us to continue our ministry in Spain. 

From January 13-16 we went with 45 teens from the Hillside high school youth group to Hume Lake Christian Camp. Every year, this is a time when students accept Jesus or rededicate their lives to Christ. This year was no exception! But I noticed that there seemed to be less of a “spiritual high” than often happens at camp. Instead, God cultivated a quiet steadfastness to follow Him among our group. The focus seemed to be more on the future than just the camp experience. These teens are committed to serving God with their lives, long after the emotions from camp fade. 

As leaders, this prolonged time together results in many unique opportunities to love on these kids, to dig in deep, and to help disciple them into the people that God wants them to be. This turbo boost for our ministry will continue to yield fruit in the months to come. We are excited to see the teens looking forward to what God will continue to do in their lives. 

At youth group the day after camp, I asked the students what God had done. I got a range of responses. One teen told me she learned “to trust in the truths of God’s character more than our feelings in the moment.” Another said, “In order to be able to love others well, we first need to be able to accept God’s love for us without thinking we need to earn it.” On the last evening, my cabin came to the conclusion it was time for them to come to Hillside with the goal of serving others instead of primarily looking forward to what they would get out of it. But with everyone I talked to there was a common theme of amazement at how God was working through the unified group. If I was to sum up what God did over this weekend it would be this:

He showed this group how important it is to develop a life-long pattern of following Jesus, and that community is a vital part of this process. 

Following His footsteps,

Kris Hoffman, on behalf of all the high school leaders
Jr High Surf Camp 2016

Junior High

Our weekly meetings @ Hillside
Sunday mornings at 9:00am
Tuesday night youth group 7:00 to 8:30pm
Our desire is to see our jr. high students “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10) It is our prayer that our students are falling deeply in love with the Lord Jesus Christ and building a spiritual foundation for a lifetime.
First and foremost, our greatest desire is that our students would pursue a vibrant love relationship with Jesus Christ. Once a student is overwhelmed by love for their Savior so many things come into place. Holiness is not just the absence of sin, but it involves living a spirit-filled life, following and becoming more like Jesus Christ.

Second, it is our desire to encourage each of our students to be personally involved in authentic Christian community. We want to deal with the real world. We are not developing a comfortable Christian climate; we are attempting to challenge them to authentic relationships and to dealing head on with their struggles and pain. All of our students are involved in small groups that we call core groups that are huge catalysts for this.

Third, it is our desire that our students have a passion for the lost.Our groups are heavily involved in evangelism and apologetics training, cold-turkey witnessing and various mission trips. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” Even living in a postmodern world we take this statement very seriously.
Come grow and learn with us!
Houseboats 2016

High School

Our weekly meetings @ Hillside
Sunday mornings at 9:00am
Tuesday night prayer group at 6:00pm
Tuesday night youth group from 7:00 to 8:30
Teaching our high school students how to live Godly lives is one of the most important jobs of a church.
Students today face some of the same pressures that nearly everyone can remember: school, sports, friends, peer pressure, girlfriends, boyfriends, drugs, alcohol, and sexual impurity. Some things will never change! But today these age-old influences are combined with text messaging, wireless internet, instant messaging, and a whole host of other technologies and changes in our modern world. Our students cannot walk this journey alone. We are not striving for behavior modification in our students; we are praying that they will fall in love with our Lord Jesus Christ and enter into a deep relationship with Him.

The high school group at Church of the Open Door aims to teach and model for our students what a disciple of Jesus Christ looks like on high school campuses today. Far more than merely avoiding the many pitfalls of High School, we want our students to be constantly challenged by the Word of God, to be cultivating a relationship with Jesus Christ, and to be wondering what purpose and calling the Living God may have placed on their lives.

Come join us on the journey!


Jr. High Summer Surf Camp 2016 @ Camp Pendleton

Thanks for praying for this amazing group of students & leaders! Dave Newkirk taught many of our kids how to surf and the rest either swam, played in the sand or soaked in the rays. We played games, had sweet times of worship and did encouragement projects, meant to build the unity and love of our group.
Throughout the course of the weekend, we explored Paul’s letter to the Galatians and learned about the glorious and freeing truths of the Gospel. Through lessons, solo/quiet times and group discussions, the students wrestled with the cross of Christ, its sufficiency for our salvation, and the implications that it has on our everyday lives. Thanks for your prayers and support!
There were so many great memories made at camp! I cannot wait to see how the Gospel continues to transform the hearts and minds of our students!
~Ryan Berkman

 High School Houseboats 2016

Your high school leaders and I are incredibly grateful for the opportunity we had to take 30 epic high school students to Lake Mohave this summer. We loved living life for a week with each one of these students. Thank you for all of your prayers! We are encouraged at how God continues to do amazing things on these trips.
Thank you for trusting us with your kids!
-Dave Newkirk