Youth Ministry



the Refuge

First United Methodist Church of Sarasota loves and supports our youth! 

We are a community called to reach out and care for teenage students of Sarasota. Together we grow in love as we mature in our faith and act on the teachings of Jesus in service of God and one another!


Christ is our Refuge & Salvation

God intended for our lives to be lived connected to and in-service to one another.  Joining the Refuge allows for your youth to begin to live the life that Christ intended for them to live. By developing within a church community, they are more likely to:

  1. live a Christ-centered life
  2. love their neighbor
  3. foster unity with God through one another
  4. create a life-line which can be utilized during both good and bad times


Under the guidance of Director of Youth and Children’s Ministry, Ondie Vinson, students are invited to be transformed by the experience of becoming a part of something larger than themselves.

We provide a safe place where teenagers gather together for food and fellowship, supporting one another and learning about living and growing toward a more fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ.

We welcome high-school students from all walks of life who are seeking a place of understanding, a place where we are all led to feel that we truly are the children of an amazing and loving God.

By encouraging each other, we invite students into a relationship with Jesus. Together we walk toward the path of salvation through the teachings of Christ and the Gospels. 


General Information

Our Youth Group, the Refuge (grades 9 - 12) meets 6 - 8 p.m. every Wednesday on the second floor of the church and is accessible by the elevator or the stairs next to the church office.

Join us for a fun night of fellowship and group discussion. We look forward to getting to know you as we turn to Christ as our refuge.



Using the Grow curriculum, we discuss the lessons of the Gospel and how they apply and relate to real everyday life. We challenge ourselves to embrace a Faith that calls us to be loving, welcoming, constructive, and compassionate.



On the second Wednesday of every month we gather together for an Agape Feast. The Love Feast, or Agape Meal, is a Christian fellowship meal recalling the meals Jesus shared with disciples during his ministry and expressing the community, sharing, and fellowship enjoyed by the family of Christ. Students prepare the food themselves after worship on Sundays preceding the Agape Feast.

Several times a year students involved with The Refuge are invited to attend many different fun activities and trips. From prayer retreats to a day at the waterpark, the youth belonging to the Refuge form meaningful relationships with one another. We grow and mature together, fostering a spirit of Christian love and service.


Bryant Scholarship

We were very fortunate to receive a donation from one of our members to help establish a college scholarship fund.  Each year, we award several students a $1,000 scholarship to help them with their undergraduate educational expenses.

To receive this scholarship, students must meet the following eligibility requirements: 2.5 or greater GPA in high school, be a member of First United Methodist Church for one year, acceptance into an accredited College or University, show evidence of involvement in church, school, and/or the community, and be between the ages of 16 and 25.  Students must also write a brief essay and provide some information about their educational plans. 

Our youth have gone to or are currently attending the following schools, to name a few: University of South Florida, Florida State University, State College of Florida, NYU, and Santa Fe College. 

Our youth have entered many fields of study, including photography, medicine, economics, business administration, biology, and teaching. 

On more than one occasion, past recipients of this scholarship returned to First Church to update us on how they are doing and, in some cases, to make a gift to the fund.  We are proud of all the great things our youth accomplish. 

To apply, click the link below to download and complete the application that best describes your current situation-high school senior/existing college students.  


 High School




Have a middle-schooler? We are currently in the process of developing a seperate program for your youth.

Come back soon for details!