Our Greatest Treasure
If I were to ask you to name the greatest treasure we have as a church, what would you say—besides the gift of the Holy Spirit? I know my answer: Kids. I love the fact that our church building is full of evidence of kids of all ages. Bustling, squirming and sometimes stinky nurseries! Sunday school classes vibrating with energy. The youth arena pumping out music so loud that it shakes the Gathering Place above.
Don’t you love that energy, that mess, that noise? I’ve shared this story before but one time, when I asked a wealthy woman to give a gift in support of our new gymnasium, she replied, “I don’t want a gymnasium; I like my church quiet.” My not-very-pastoral response was, “If you want quiet, go to the cemetery. The church is for the living!”
There are so many churches that would give anything to have the noise, mess and bedlam that kids provide…and that we enjoy in abundance. We baptize babies and promise to help the parents raise them in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” And then, I think Chapel Hill really does do its best to keep that promise. This Sunday is one of our kid-milestones as we welcome 25 students into membership from our confirmation class. We will hear about their nine-month journey of training and discipleship. We will baptize and anoint and celebrate that fact that we have the treasure of kids in our church!
After the service, I invite you to the Gathering Place to celebrate our ministry to students. There will be beautiful, creative displays with student’s stories and pictures, games, and most importantly, lots of food to eat! It will also be a chance for you to support a change in the direction of our program. Our intern ministry has been a valuable part of our youth ministry, but interns typically leave within two years. We would like to keep these valuable team members longer, so we are replacing internships with a new assistant youth director position that we think will provide greater continuity and stability.
Also, you will notice that we dumped the Youth Benefit this year. Frankly, we are tired of auctions—which take a considerable amount of time and energy for our youth staff—and we are working to absorb more of the costs of the youth department into our operating budget. But we still need help with sending kids to camp and on Mexico mission trips, as well as training for our leaders. We hope to raise $8,000 this year—significantly less than we’ve needed to fundraise from previous years. This Sunday’s gathering will be a chance for you to support this new initiative, knowing that you won’t be asked to attend or give at a Youth Benefit this year.
I can’t wait to preach this sermon on Acts 2, and I am excited to celebrate a new generation of Chapel Hill members. Please, make this Sunday worship with your Chapel Hill family a priority.