Take time to explore and find out ways you can get involved in all that’s happening here, because there’s a lot – and this is a place for you.

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Student Newsletter

Stuff for students

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Here’s what’s coming up soon…

High School Guys Campout
February 26, 2021
For a night we will camp out in the woods and do manly stuff like make fire, chop stuff down, and use the world as our bathroom, but we will also talk a bit about what it means to be a man of God.  Join us for an amazing evening of manliness!  February 26-27 @ the Mattson’s land for high school guys in grades 9-12.  Cost is $10 per student.  To sign up, click here.  For everyone under 18 years of age, please complete and bring the waiver attached to the online payment form.

Jr. High Girls Retreat
Friday, March 26, 2021
Yo middle school gals! We are bringing back a night of fun JUST FOR YOU! The senior girls in the youth ministry are putting together an evening of teaching, crafts, and FUN for you to come and grow in your walk with God and with your friends. This retreat will be on the evening of Friday, March 26th. Come and be a part of Spark 2021! This will be a great time to hang out, worship, and spend time in fellowship with the other girls your age. Cost to be determined soon.  Click here to register. 

High School Girls Retreat
Saturday, April 24, 2021
Yo high school girls, you know what time it is! Time to grab your bff, your journal, and a pen because the best day of the year has come!! Elements is back this year in a new fashion to bring you spiritual growth and a REALLY fun time with your gal pals! We will not be staying the night at Elements this year, but don’t fret because it is going to be ahhh-mazing. On April 24, we will spend the entire afternoon and evening hearing from an incredible teacher as well as the testimony of some of our beautiful senior girls. We will also have our very own Casey Sadler leading us in some amazing worship. Throughout our time together we will share a special meal together, craft, worship, and learn what it means to bloom where you are planted.  Cost to be determined soon.  Click here to register.


Sunday Mornings
9:45am in The Venue

Sunday Morning Bible Study for youth is back in person on Sunday, September 13.  We will be meeting at 9:45am in The Venue – except for the seniors who will continue to meet in The MAC game room.  Same great teachers (you can check out who they are on the Youth Staff tab) and the same great opportunity to explore the Bible together.

Sunday Nights
The MAC Room A200

CONNECT.with a core group.
GROW.through discipleship.
SERVE.as Christ teaches.

Here at First Woodway, we take discipleship ministry very seriously.  In our 7:37 Discipleship Groups, students meet with a group of peers…his or her age and his or her gender.  Each group has two college leaders that help them to grow in Christian faith and practice.  Check out our great line up of leaders on the Youth Staff page.

Come and be a part of the spiritual backbone of our entire ministry.  It is your chance to mature into a faith that you can use.  Our spring 2021 semester kicks off on Sunday, January 24 at 7:37pm in The MAC room A200 on our campus.  From there we will break off into our small groups.  We do ask that you wear a mask and practice physical distancing in worship and in your small groups.  Please plan to use the MAC entrance to enter the building.  The last 7:37 for the spring semester will be Sunday, May 2.


Wednesday Night Live
7:00pm in The Venue

This is just what you need in the middle of the week – a time to gather with other students for authentic worship through music, drama, games, videos, testimonies and a talk that will give solid direction for living out your faith commitment.  Our midweek program for 7th-12th grades is live and in person…from a safe distance of course!. Join us in The Venue every Wednesday at 7:00pm.  We have plenty of room to invite your friends, so get the word out!  This is the place for you to learn, grow, and reach out to your friends throughout the school year.  We will not have WNL on the following dates due to holidays:  November 25, December 23, and December 30.

Social Media
To keep up with all the latest, follow our youth pages on the following social media platforms:

Instagram – @firstwoodwayyouth

Facebook – First Woodway Youth Ministry page

YouTube – First Woodway Youth Ministry

Youth Staff

Bob Johns

bobJOHNS (Youth Pastor)
is our Youth Pastor. He has given overall leadership to this ministry since coming to First Woodway in 1984 (before any of his associates were born). He is a graduate of Texas Wesleyan College and Southwestern Seminary. Bob is married to Debbie, and they have one daughter, Hannah (a Baylor and Columbia graduate). He loves golf, skiing, reading, and playing his Gibson J-45. He is also the director of SonDays Camp, supervises interns for the Baylor Religion department, on the board of directors for several ministries, and has written curriculum, articles, and devotional materials for various publications.  He is not a celebrated speaker and never speaks at camps, retreats, or conferences, but he does love speaking to his high school students every week.  He has written one book on long term youth ministry (still to be published) entitled They Say I’m Crazy. Bob is also a licensed motor vehicle operator in the state of Texas and drives a truck.

Mark Tate

markTATE (Associate Youth Minister)
works with those amazing and always challenging 7th and 8th graders and has been doing that since 2011. He grew up in Lockhart where he claims the best barbeque in the world resides. He completed his degree at Baylor in 2013 and has a Master’s degree from DBU.  Mark is married to Taylor (who grew up at FW), and they have a brand new baby girl named Nora.  He loves his Baylor Bears but not as much as speaking to his middle school students every Wednesday night.   Mark loves to play golf with his dad, because he is the kind of golfer only a father could love. One cool thing about Mark is that he is totally into traveling around the globe and learning about/experiencing other cultures and working among them. You could say his two real passions are missions and working (in a most excellent way) with junior high critters.  Mark also drives a truck.

meredithBRISTOW (Youth Associate/Girls)
starting as the cutest little 7th grader, Meredith grew up in the ministry before departing for the mountains and the University of Arkansas – ending up with a degree in International Relations.  Now she is back, after graduating from Truett Seminary and serving on our staff – giving leadership to our ministry to girls. In the middle of all that, she spent a year studying in the Kanakuk Institute.  We couldn’t be more happy to have Meredith with us.  She’s definitely the second best athlete on the staff (hint: Bob), having excelled at volleyball, basketball, and softball in high school.  Meredith loves reading, hanging out with friends, and spontaneous adventures of any kind.  She is passionate about the opportunity to walk alongside girls through the joys and struggles of this life.

terriJONES (Student Ministry Assistant)
came on board in this important position in 2013.  She keeps all of this madness so very well organized, and we love her for it.  Terri comes from Sweetwater, where she hung out at the Dairy Queen on weekends.  After graduating from Angelo State University, she made a choice to move to Dallas. It was there that she met her future husband, David.  Her present children, Allison (a Texas A&M graduate) and Sam (a Texas A&M student) continue to daily rise up and call her blessed. She enjoys walking, reading, and baking.  Everyone loves Terri, mostly because of her pies.

Sunday Morning Team

High School Teachers
High School Department Director: Rodney Bowden
Assistant:  Heather Bowden

12th Grade: Darrell Janecka and Terri Jones

11th Grade Guys: Rodney Bowden, Jon Edwards
11th Grade Girls:  Cindy Janecka, Niki Edwards

10th Grade Guys: Brent Baker, Alan Bowden
10th Grade Girls: Laura Schmeltekopf, Lisa Lewis

9th Grade Guys: Jerry Weatherman, Andrew Schmeltekopf
9th Grade Girls: Pam Weatherman, Shannon Johnson

Junior High Teachers
Junior High Department Directors: Tommy Ross, Brandi Ross

8th Grade Guys: Kyle Miller, Jay Fischer
8th Grade Girls: Emily Baker, LeighAnne Fischer

7th Grade Guys: Richie Scott, Tommy Ross
7th Grade Girls: Sarah Scott, Angie Wood

7:37 Team

High School Discipleship Leaders
12th Grade Guys: David Beggs, Chris Coley
12th Grade Girls: Meredith Bristow, Abigail Garrett, Becca Gonzales, Caroline Thompson

11th Grade Guys: Calvin Atkinson, Nathan Smith
11th Grade Girls:  Lily Cates, Katherine Moseman, Zoë Recks, Danelle Smith

10th Grade Guys: Jason Fletcher, Andy Gauer
10th Grade Girls: Hannah Atkinson, Terri Jones

9th Grade Guys: Harrison Escue, Peyton Hodges
9th Grade Girls: Morgan Laurence, Julianna Lewis, Lauren Mogg, Casey Sadler

Junior High Discipleship Leaders
8th Grade Guys: Michael Mize, Zach Smith
8th Grade Girls: Kylie Akin, Madelyn Hollingsworth

7th Grade Guys: Zach Brown, Mark Tate
7th Grade Girls: Mariah Montgomery, Cayleigh Shaw

SLT (Student Leadership Team)

Every year we invite any and all of our juniors and seniors to join us in the leadership of our ministry through our SLT (Student Leadership Team).

Ministry is only effective if the students get involved and claim it as their own. We invite students to serve on a few different focus groups according to their interests. Groups typically meet one Sunday a month to talk over ideas and important events.

Here the areas of involvement:

If you are a junior or senior in high school, seriously consider joining one of these teams. Look for information coming soon about our annual SLT retreat.

Sondays Camp

Save the date for Sondays Camp @ Mt. Lebanon in 2021!

July 11-16, 2021

Summer 2021 Youth Mission Opportunities:

We’re very hopeful that 2021 will give us something that the present year took away. Tentative plans are being set for upcoming mission trips for the coming summer.

La Grulla
June 20-26, 2021
{Eligibility:  freshman or older by summer 2021}
The dusty little town of La Grulla holds a dear place in the heart of our ministry.  Every year since 2002, we have been making the trek to the Rio Grande Valley to spend a week working with Iglesia Bautista and ministering in this place we all love.  Registration is now open.  Complete the application and turn it in with a $50 deposit (check payable to First Woodway) to anyone on youth staff.

July 25-31, 2021
{Eligibility: freshman or older by summer 2021}

Our annual trip to this beloved Central American country has become a huge part of our ministry. It’s back to the little inland town of San Estevan, where we will literally do a VBS down by the river – and every kid in town will come. It’s pretty awesome. Couple that with service projects and outreach events for the little church, as well as work in a local orphanage and you’ll experience a real international mission trip – just a bit closer to home.  Click here for the application.

In the vault we have the latest First Woodway youth videos. All available for your viewing pleasure… or mozy on over to youtube to watch some of our classics.

Follow First Woodway Youth on Social Media

First Woodway  |  101 Ritchie Road, Waco TX 76712  |  254.772.9696