Until I Had a Friend‚Ä¶¬†
I owe much of my current faith walk to an experience as a teenager. Chances are, you do too. Studies have shown that most of us formulate our ideas about God and faith early on. More importantly, the probability that a person will change their mind about who God is drops precipitously after the age of 18 (though, God still frequently fertilizes that old soil).
For me, though I’d been brought up around faith I didn’t have the best examples of faithfulness to draw on. As a teenager, God became irrelevant, and maybe even repugnant. Though I went to church, I did my best to shut out or not think about God, and it mostly worked. Until someone invited me to youth group. She’d just been on a mission trip, and she was excited about what God could do in our little church, so she was starting a youth group. It wasn’t until I had that peer (even just one!) who was committed to her faith that I began to seriously consider my own faith.
This is what is vital about youth groups, and about our youth groups specifically: they’re not intended to replace the God-ordained role of the parent as disciple-maker (and indeed they can’t), rather they are meant to provide the peer space that reinforces and encourages faith. And so it was for me. The seed had been planted in my life. I knew of God, and a lot about God. But I needed to witness God at work in a friend before the Spirit quickened my spirit.
That youth group I came to faith in was quite a ragtag bunch of kids, never stronger than about 10 of us. Our youth group at Chapel Hill is a different story. Dozens of students walk through our doors every week, our staff is well-qualified, and our volunteers are committed. Every year, students are impacted by special events like Youth Mexico, Oasis, Limelight, and more. We have good reason to celebrate God’s faithfulness and generosity when we look at what he’s doing through this ministry.
One of the things I’ve appreciated about Chapel Hill is how excited so many people are about this ministry to youth, no matter what age they are. In years past, that excitement has manifested through the yearly Youth Auction. But as the demands of facilitating that auction have outweighed some of the benefits, we’ve worked hard at moving more of the budget into the general fund so our staff can spend more time thinking about ministry and less time fundraising.
That said, you can still share your excitement for youth ministry at a fundraiser this year. For the first time ever, we’re hosting a golf tournament (followed by an awards dinner and silent auction) at Canterwood. The funds raised will go toward giving our ministry some needed *umph* through scholarships for students and training for leaders. Even if golf isn’t your thing (and it’s definitely not mine), you can contribute and celebrate just by coming to the dinner. There’s more info HERE.
One other thing was important to my story: I had people praying for me. People who weren’t my parents, which really matters. Do you know a student in our ministry? Pray for them. Pray for their parents. Pray that they would get the chance to spend more of their life walking with Jesus by beginning their faith journey now. Your prayers matter. They did for me. However you go about it, golf or prayers, there’s a way for you to be an important part of God’s work with our students at Chapel Hill.