Youth Ministry

Bibliopolis: Defying Reading Statistics

In August 2015, after working for 15 years as a high school English and History teacher, Emily Kim became our official church librarian.

Emily, our church librarian and #1 Gracepoint Bibliophile with her typical stack of books!

Emily, our church librarian and #1 Gracepoint Bibliophile with her typical stack of books!

Soon after, Emily launched Bibliopolis: a church library specifically geared toward children and teens. Emily recognized the effect that our 21st century, instant gratification culture was having on our youth. In a 2016 Breakpoint article, Eric Metaxas explained how the rise of technology has impacted psychological health, social skill development, and academics. A study by Microsoft concluded that, "The average attention span among American youth is about 8 seconds, less than that of a goldfish." Just last year, Pew Research Center discovered that 24% of Americans hadn't read a single book all year.

Emily created Bibliopolis to promote the love of reading throughout our church and to raise up life-long readers across Gracepoint Berkeley and our church plants. Emily writes, "As Christians, it's so important for us to learn how to engage our minds and enter into dialogue with an author about sustained arguments, ideas, or imagined worlds and characters so that we can become more reasonable, thoughtful, attentive students of the Word, and equipped to fight against all that is in the world that that tells us that the here and now is all there is!"

Emily spurred us on through programs like reading challenges, a Bibliopolis blog, and curating a mini-city of books for children and adults alike. At Bibliopolis headquarters you'll find an array of plants, Ikea furniture, warm drinks, and plush rugs positioned to create a warm, welcoming environment conducive to reading and it's become a beloved corner of our church for readers of all ages.

Enjoying Halfway Herbert in Bibliopolis. Books range from picture books for elementary school kids to chapter books for older students.

Enjoying Halfway Herbert in Bibliopolis. Books range from picture books for elementary school kids to chapter books for older students.

Emily recognized this as a truly extraordinary moment—middle school boys voluntarily reading!

Emily recognized this as a truly extraordinary moment—middle school boys voluntarily reading!

Emily inspired a reading revolution across our churches. Church plants started book tables at Sunday services. Candid snapshots of readers encouraged people to "steal reading moments" throughout their daily schedules. Even Pastor Ed got caught up in the reading mania!

A book table at our UCLA church.

A book table at our UCLA church.

Anywhere in the world can become a place to "steal a reading moment." Even during a bike ride in Alameda!

Anywhere in the world can become a place to "steal a reading moment." Even during a bike ride in Alameda!

Pastor Ed stealing a reading moment with some kids while visiting Gracepoint Riverside.

Pastor Ed stealing a reading moment with some kids while visiting Gracepoint Riverside.

As Bibliopolis helps us defy the reading statistics of today, we're being transformed from goldfish into bookworms. Check out the Bibliopolis blog for reading inspiration and book reviews and recommendations for readers of all ages—fiction, non-fiction, and Christian books too!


Krystal Han is an avid reader herself and serves in our Elderly Care Ministry at Gracepoint Berkeley.

Interhigh: Why We Do It

What is an hour worth? To the staff at InterHigh, a group that includes software engineers and professionals in the healthcare industry, an hour is worth a lot. They work full weeks, but in their downtime, they’re not resting. Instead, they’re learning songs, writing messages, getting feedback on those messages, and struggling to be creative.

It doesn’t always pay off. Megan H., a staff member in InterHigh, shares, “One time we had a small group sharing with 3 girls. Most of them just stared down and didn’t say anything. We ended up talking a lot while they looked bored, so we ended our sharing time early.”

So why keep going? The three kids at this church belong to one of the 775+ Bay Area congregations that have less than 75 attendees. At these churches, it’s common to find a middle-schooler babysitting while her dad preaches, or a high-schooler attending a service in a language that he doesn’t speak. We might not have much to offer them, but if we don’t try, who will?

InterHigh staff Ben L. with student

InterHigh staff Ben L. with student

So we keep serving: in Castro Valley, San Jose, Richmond, Oakland. And amidst week after week of faithfulness, God works. We’ve gone from 9 churches in 2010 to 56 churches in 2017. 385 ministers have served in IH to-date, driving a total of 303,200 miles, which span a farther distance than from here to the moon!

There’ve been more than 100 salvations since IH began. But often, the person who witnesses these salvations ends up being equally blessed, if not more.

Megan H. with fellow InterHigh staff and their students

Megan H. with fellow InterHigh staff and their students

Megan shares, “Every time I give it my all for these students, I’m saying, I want to be ‘great before the Lord,’ rather than before people. At least I can give them a positive impression of a youth group and hope that they will remember at least 1 thing each week that we teach them.”

Jesus once told a story about a shepherd who left the 99 to seek 1 lost sheep. Who are we to do any less?


Echo Lu is a youth minister, part of Area Youth Ministry.

Dare2Share LIVE with Greg Stier and Flame

In October 2018, Dare2Share LIVE was hosted at Gracepoint in Alameda. This was a national, live, 1-day, multi-site simulcast training and outreach event. We were one of 100+ simulcast locations nationwide where tens of thousands of teens and adult leaders were inspired and equipped to share their faith. On the same day, all attendees were released into the surrounding Bay Area to start spiritual conversations and collect canned food to benefit Cityteam Oakland.

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It was awesome to see a new generation of students getting excited about sharing the gospel with their friends and neighbors. We had students and youth group leaders joining us from all over the Bay Area, Sacramento, and even Chico (one group even woke up as early as 5AM to drive down for the event)! We ended up having 580 attendees, and there were 7 salvation decisions. Praise the Lord!