Ever since I first stepped into my role, I have been blessed with my leadership team in Student Ministries. The three existing leaders were great – they taught me all about our group, and helped me get acclimated to our ministry here at Calvary. Over the last year we've added a more fantastic leaders who have helped to run games and serve as small group leaders, and who live out their faith alongside our youth.
Unfortunately we've had to say goodbye to a few – one moved away, and two others just welcomed a new addition to their family. And while saying goodbye may seem like a bad thing, I am excited for where God is taking them and about whom God is going to bring in to fill the gap.
You may be reading this and thinking, “Youth ministry is great, but I'm too old.”
Or too young, or too inexperienced, or I don’t know enough about the Bible to teach it…
If that's you, I want to stop you right there, and tell you that none of your objections are what youth ministry is about.
- You're never too old to serve our youth, because our students need to see people 40+ living for the LORD.
- You're never too young to serve our youth (unless you are a youth). Our students look to people in their 20s and 30s as examples of how to live out your faith once you’re no longer a student.
- You'll never have enough experience to serve in youth ministry because it’s an ever-evolving field. Experience is not required to be a leader; you just need a passion for youth and a desire for them to see Christ. The experience will come as you serve.
- Being able to teach the Bible is not a requirement to be a leader. You are a Christ-following role model for our youth and you have something to offer, no matter what your level of knowledge. But if you're really concerned about a lack of Bible knowledge, this is a great time to pick up your Bible and read it.
Here’s the pitch: Our Student Ministries needs another female leader. We have a lot of girls in our group, and I'm looking for someone to serve who has a heart for God and cares about the next generation of believers.
Youth ministry is hard, don't get me wrong, but oh man is it rewarding! There are some nights you’ll leave here thinking, “What are we doing here?"
Believe me, you will.
But then you will have a night where something great happens. A kid quotes Scripture or tells you about a book of the Bible they've been reading, or you have a bit of advice or knowledge you can pass along that you didn't realize would help a student. It is so rewarding.
If you attend the church and you want to have an impact on the spiritual lives of our students, please send me an email, find me at church on Sunday, or give me a call. Let’s talk about our awesome students and how you can get involved in serving.
Youth Director, Calvary Burlington
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt. 5:13-16)
Two weeks ago in Sunday school, I began the lesson for our grade 1-5 class with a game. To my surprise, a number of the kids started shouting excitedly that we hadn’t shared our weekly news. Each week we always start class by taking turns sharing anything special we’ve done during the week like a sporting event, a special outing, some time with friends, or anything that brought them joy since we last saw them. This sharing then leads into our prayer and praise time.
I was thinking about praise this week and how to describe it to our Sunday school kids - what does it mean to praise God? Growing up in the church I always believed that praise was simply the time we spent singing at the start of service. However, praise is actually anything we do that expresses our appreciation and thankfulness for what God has done. A quick search reveals that “praise” is mentioned about 340 times in the Bible (NIV). Along with love, praise is one of the most frequently used verbs/action words – there must be a message in this. Psalm 145:3 reads, “Lord, you are great. You are really worthy of praise. No one can completely understand how great you are.”
In order for children to understand the significance of praise, they need to know more of who God is. By learning about trials, circumstances, characters and Scripture in the Bible, God’s attributes are revealed. God is loving, forgiving, holy, all-powerful, all knowing, merciful, just, sovereign and everywhere – to name a few. When children have the opportunity to know God, they can see He is worthy of praise! They can also see that God truly wants the best for them, and that He is concerned with every detail of their lives. That’s why we like to start every week with a time of reflection, and praising the great things God has done over the past week - we want to build this behaviour into the lives and routines of our kids. James 1:17 reminds us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows.”
As Easter approaches, with Palm Sunday this week, we have lots of opportunity for praise and worship. We are coming together as a church community to celebrate the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is through our risen Saviour that we have forgiveness and the assurance of salvation. What greater reason do we have to give praise this Easter!
Tanya Chant, Director of Family & Children's Ministry
For those that may not know, when I'm not working at our church I keep busy with my job at WEC (Worldwide Evangelization for Christ). One of my favourite things about working at this mission organization is getting to read newsletters and prayer letters from missionaries around the world. Stories of redemption and grace, struggles and perseverance come through our office every day. They allow us to rejoice and to grieve with those out on the field who are working to show Jesus to their neighbours in a meaningful and life-changing way.
One letter that passed through our office recently began with a quote that struck me. It was a Latin phrase meaning “To hold and to be held”.
What a beautiful phrase, with a beautiful contrast in imagery: “To hold” is active and conjures up images of strength and purpose. “Being held” conveys an idea of safety and rest.
But what does it mean to have safety and strength? To have purpose and to rest?
I've often said in my blog posts (mostly as a reminder to myself) that in Christianity, there is no striving for God's love. He gives it freely and unconditionally. Praise the Lord for that!
But that doesn't mean that we don't strive for anything; that we don't have something to hold onto.
We strive to know God more, and to make Him known. We intentionally seek His will for our lives. We are purposeful about being in His Word; loving Him more as we learn more about who He is.
This takes discipline and strength. More strength than I have some days.
Because sometimes I struggle to hold on, and I just need to be held.
Days when I don't understand why God put me in a certain situation. Days when I see people I love hurting, and my prayers seem to go unanswered.
It's on these days that I'm so grateful to be held.
Held in the knowledge that my weakness doesn't diminish God's strength. That my doubt doesn't unravel His perfect plan.
Whatever season you are in right now, know that God is working in it, and He is working in you.
Hold on to Him, and when you don't have any strength left, be held.
Jolene Sanders, Director of Worship
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4
Each week we post about a range of things from the Christian life, faith and more.
In these posts we hope you'll catch a glimpse of ordinary people who serve an extraordinary God.