I’ve re written this report three times as it is hard to sum up what student ministry has been like this year. I’ve landed with random bits of info of the year and it seems to fit.
- 32 Youth leaders returned to kick off the year!
- 4 gallons of hand sanitizer purchased bulk.
- 12 boxes of masks.
- 45 students allowed per night which we doubled with upstairs and down stairs acting as separate meeting areas.
- 16 construction fences were rented to separate the youth center into four quadrants so we could meet the next restriction.
- 8 more weeks of shut down.
- 6 more Zoom small group nights (for those youth who could still handle Zoom).
- 3 Youth services per Sunday.
- 4 Instagram live nights where youth leaders lead the youth night as a virtual team.
- 300 of our student ministry followers clicked to watch our virtual youth nights a week. (some times more but never less)
- 2 more youth services added. One on Wednesday one on Thursday.
- 50 students came out on average a week divided between the 5 youth services.
- 100 -the times we said to each other “don’t worry the restrictions are going to lift really soon.”
The Highlights of the year:
We kept pushing. The commitment of the youth leaders, the students, and their parents was baffling to me. With all the change and the process everyone had to go through in order to just meet as a group of students with their leaders was huge. And yet every week everyone took care of their set of hurdles required to make a youth night happen.
God showed up. We hear a lot of negative when it comes to COVID these days from youth. What they wish was different and what could have been better, but there is an exception. If you ask students how their walk with God was this past year, the response is almost always “oh it was way better”. Most explain a series of events that corralled them, so to speak, into a place where they just had to be closer or just wanted to be closer to Jesus. One student told me this week, “I think the only thing I have been committed to this year is Jesus. There was nothing else to be committed to because it all just kept changing.” So cool! I believe God gained a lot of territory in the hearts of our youth this year.
There was suffering. Ya, I know I have that in the highlight section, but almost every good thing that happens in someone’s life comes out of suffering. Paul says in Romans 5:3-5… “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
I look forward to seeing the fruits like character, endurance, and hope!
I have one that sits pretty heavy on my heart. Pray that God would bring us back together again. I don’t mean that we don’t have to social distance, I mean our hearts towards each other. This has been a year of opposing messages, beliefs, ways of understanding the Bible and of following Jesus. Lines got drawn, boundaries set. Truth and clarity seem to be easily claimed and achieved on opposing views.
- Pastor Rob