Our Vision

Straight Up’s Vision for 2020: Straight Up’s vision is to be an authentic community that desires God’s presence. We aim to create space for students to ask questions and be real with themselves, others, and God.

Who is Straight Up focusing this year? When we read about Jesus’ primary audience and recipients of His great miracles and works, we realize that Jesus specifically focused on the marginalized. Therefore, Straight Up’s vision is set on ministering and gathering those who need the Messiah.

The big question: how? How do we minister to each other? First, we show up, which means we are present physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Consistency is key. When nothing else is predictable in our lives, Straight Up can be something that is consistent. Being consistent shows that we are cared for and valued simply because we are spending time each week being together. Second, we open up. It is easy to see people go to church with a mask on, but that is not what our community is aiming for. Simply, Straight Up prioritizes authenticity over excellence and relationships over experiences. “People would rather follow a leader who is always real than who is always right.” Third, we grow up. Middle schooler should not stay middle schoolers. (Thank God!) Straight Up desires students to grow in their relationship with Jesus individually and communally. We have an increased chance of growing when we create space and time for everyone to explore their faith in Jesus Christ and their spirituality in an accepting place without a set timeline. Finally, we step up. Our goal is not to keep them at this spiritual level, rather our goal is to send them out making disciples and knowing what Church should be. So where ever they go, they can look back on the grace and love they found at Straight Up and apply that to where they are. Additionally, Straight Up should build a bridge to High School Ministry, The Red Door, where they can continue to be the Church as they continue to grow and mature in Christ Jesus.

If you have not received emails and would like to start email Donnie at  

In His peace,

Donnie Howren


This year I have really been shown that there are people wanting and desiring God’s presence, but have been held back by something or someone. If I had to use a single word, that word would be marginalized. Three major things I want to focus on this year. First, the marginalized What the heck does that mean? Marginalized is kind of an encompassing word that has a lot of meaning. For example, the Israelites in Egypt were marginalized because of slavery. Marginalized is another word for oppressed. For example, Jesus’ disciples and followers were marginalized because they were cast out from their families and social groups. Marginalized is another word for the outsiders. Think, the margins on your lined paper at school is outside the lines. Jesus didn’t come for the righteous and well, but for the sick and the sinners. Therefore, this will be Straight Up’s attitude. Second, serving others. (“How can I help?”) “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus spent his time serving. I think we have the opportunity this year to make an impact in other’s life because Jesus first impacted our life. Straight Up’s goal is to find ways to serve and benefit our community and the larger Church community. Third, I believe we will grow this year. Grow can be thought of in a few ways. First, like every adult I talk to, they ask “how many kids go to Straight Up?” Personally, I am not interested in the number of people who attend church. Instead, I believe we should be interested in growing deep in our faith and community, by doing that people will notice and want to get involved. Only when we are a healthy and authentic community of faith will we be able to welcome others in a heavenly fashion. In sum, I believe we are going to grow; grow spiritually and relationally with Jesus Christ, grow as a family of God, and grow in our community.