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Unite Church serves up donuts, lattes, and hospitality to youth


Unite Church in Salem, South Dakota shares a parking lot with the high school next door. When the church re-launched in 2016, one of its goals was to raise up the next generation to be on fire for Jesus. To that end, the congregation recently began Jumpstart, a ministry for junior high and high school youth.

From 7 to 8:15 a.m. each Friday, the church welcomes students and gives them free donuts and lattes while adult volunteers chat with them and provide hospitality. Rev. Jason “Marty” Martens said Jumpstart is the church’s way of connecting with youth who might not otherwise walk through its doors.

Volunteers invite interested students to Bible studies, with the goal of helping them grow in their faith and as leaders, and with the hope that they invite their peers to Jumpstart, which currently attracts about 30 students each week. Martens estimates that 80 percent of the students who come to Jumpstart are not otherwise connected to Unite Church.

The youth say their favorite part of Jumpstart is the lattes and donuts, but they also appreciate having an informal space where they can gather and be heard.

The eight to 10 adults who volunteer at Jumpstart each Friday are intentional in the questions they ask, but they let the conversations flow organically and don’t push an agenda.

“Every week, whether they know it or not, these kids chat with adults who are positive influences in their lives, and they get the chance to know Jesus Christ,” said Martens.


Dakotas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church 605.996.6552 1331 University Ave. Mitchell SD 57301-0460 US 43.69689310 -98.03291320 122 W. Franklin Avenue Ste 400 Minneapolis MN 55404 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 W University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000