Area teens are invited to worship each Sunday night at the901
By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, COKATO, MN With an emphasis on building a Christ-centered community among local teens, a group of youth pastors have launched the901.
In what has been described as “not your grandma’s church,” the901 (named after its location, 901 First Street in Dassel) was organized to be a worship service geared toward the teen audience with relevant topics and music.
“[The goal] is to create a community of Christians for their age group,” said Dave Herring, music director for Church of Christ in Dassel.
The901 began with a team of six Steve Stahl, youth director for First Baptist Church of Cokato; Jim Tegelhutter, youth director for Hope Community Church in Howard Lake, Pastor Billy Wallace of Dassel Church of Christ, Chelsie Kimball, youth director for Dassel Covenant; Amanda Dahlseng, youth director for Gethsemane Lutheran Church, and Herring.
The idea behind the901 was to get the churches together to do one youth event each week as opposed to each church doing their own event.
“Being small towns and small churches, there is only so much we can do on our own,” commented Herring.
Combining resources and efforts into one event each week allows the churches to have an even greater impact, Herring said.
Therefore, instead of being church-centered, the901 is Christ-centered and any teen, regardless of where they attend church, is invited to participate.
“[The901] isn’t meant to be a replacement to church, but for some, this may be their only church,” Herring said.
Much like DC United which brings, on average, 300 area youth every two months to the Performing Arts Center the901 includes worship, preaching, prayer, give-aways, and snacks for teenagers 13-18 years old.
The901 meets every Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Dassel History Center and Ergot Museum.
Since the initial launch, which took place Sept. 12, the average attendance is about 30 teenagers, but they are hoping to attract more.
Each week, there is a new speaker with the goal of branching out and bringing in outside speakers.
“We’re trying to branch out so it’s not the same faces they see,” Wallace said, who enjoys preaching to teenagers.
“I gear it right to them. Teens, they don’t get offended,” he said.
“What I’m trying to give them is hope give them hope that they can be whoever they want to be,” Wallace said, adding “they have their whole lives ahead of them.”
“I like how all the different churches come together,” said 15-year-old Ashley Stahl, who has been attending since the launch and doesn’t want to miss a Sunday.
“It’s pretty awesome,” she said, noting the powerful sermons and music.
Jake Springman is a 2010 Dassel-Cokato graduate who has been attending the901 since the launch.
“I think it’s just an awesome opportunity,” said Springman who goes there to worship, praise, and help out where he can.
“I think it’s a really great thing for this area,” he added.
Both Stahl and Springman compared it to Youthquake which took place at the Cokato City Hall a few years back.
Tegelhutter commented that many teens are “bored to tears with church.”
“They want to know if God’s relevant,” he said. “We want to introduce them to the person of Jesus Christ.”
Oftentimes, church services are geared to older audiences.
“There is an 18- to 29-year-old exodus from the church,” he said, referencing a Barna Research Group study which revealed 70 percent of kids leave the church following graduation, and only 30 percent come back at a later age.
“Some of the churches can stop that if we reach out and make it relevant to them,” Wallace added, which the901 is trying to accomplish.
“The901 is about a community of believers living life together, not just on Sunday,” Herring said.
Tegelhutter said that from the beginning, “there has been a real show of unity and strength of the community.”
The group is particularly appreciative to the Dassel Area Historical Society and the City of Dassel for allowing them to use the space at the Dassel History Center.
They are especially appreciative to the Dassel Leikarring, who gave up their practice space in the community room for the901.
“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be having this,” Herring said.
The901 can be followed on its own blog, http://901.herringstudios.com and on Facebook.