All posts in “Students”

Students Fall Festival 2019

High school and junior high students: Bring your friends and your apple-bobbing and pumpkin-carving skills to our first Students Fall Festival! Carnival-style games, food and a fun time connecting with old and new friends. It’s all FREE! 6:30–8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 at First Free Rockford.

Meet Clayton Ganziano

Clayton Ganziano has served First Free Rockford for two years as middle school coordinator. Now he’s also coordinating Rooted, our young-adults ministry. Clayton and Hannah just celebrated their first wedding anniversary.

We talked with Clayton about church youth groups, what kids are looking for … and how middle school and young adult ministries actually have a lot to do with one another.


What did your faith look like, growing up?

I grew up in an EV Free church. My family was very involved there. But once I was in high school, my older brother and I just didn’t connect well in the youth group. So we tried a lot of different churches, places that our friends were going or that we had heard about.

The Chapel, a multi-site church in the Chicago area, had just opened a campus at my high school, McHenry High School. We checked it out as a family and it was a place we were OK with going. My mom wanted us to get plugged into the youth group, but I didn’t want to go. That was a whole lot of new people. It was a bigger church and that youth group was going to be big and overwhelming.

The group met in Grayslake, so for the McHenry campus, the students would gather at a Burger King. Then a church bus would pick everyone up and drive them to youth group. So at my mom’s insistence, I tried it one night. As I’m sitting in Burger King, this lady walks in. And she’s like, “Hey, are you getting on the bus?” And I’m like, “Yeah … who are you?”

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Prayer for the new school year

A community prayer of dedication and blessing

During worship at First Free Rockford’s Chapel venue recently, several schoolteachers led the congregation in this liturgical prayer. Feel free to share it, use it and adapt it.

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Color Wars Title Graphic

Color Wars 2019

Invite your friends and join us for Color Wars 2019 at First Free Rockford! Element HSM and Heartbeat MSM are pulling out all the stops with water balloons, challenge courses, lawnmower slip and slide, a huge color war, and our all-new Color Blast ride. Popcorn, snow cones, and other snacks will also be served. This event is for ALL students entering grades 6 through 12 in the fall and is FREE.

– Wear white clothing over bathing suits
– Bring towel and extra set of clothes
– Waiver required for lawn mower slip and slide and Color Blast

The evening will end with a time of high-energy worship and a brief lesson from Student Ministries team.

A waiver must be signed to ride the rides at Color Wars 2019.


Download 2019 Waiver



Footage of last year’s Color Wars event.

Element High School Ministry

Element High School Ministry

6:30pm-8:00pm High School Room
Bring your friends and be challenged by the Word of God and exposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. High-energy, visual, and experiential as we worship and meet together.