Releasing Leaders‚ÄîMichael Bouterse and Thrive
Introduction by Pastor Mark:
Last weekend in worship we celebrated the first of ten $500,000 Beyond These Walls pay-downs on our mortgage. Huzzah! You will recall that one of our three emphases for our BTW initiative was to “Release Leaders.” Well, one of the most gifted young leaders to come through our church is Michael Bouterse. You’ll remember him as our Sunday School teacher from this past summer. Michael has been called to lead a very important ministry in our community, a call to which we will commission him this weekend. I’d love for you to hear more about it from Michael himself.
Pastor Mark Toone
Imagine you’re fishing and you discover that 70 percent of the fish are escaping through a hole in your net. It’d be a crisis! Your top priority would be to mend that net as fast as you could.
Sadly, the reality is that today the American church is a bit like that busted net. We’ve poured tons of time and money into children’s and youth ministry, only to see 70 percent of our young adults abandon the church by age 23.
As a young adult myself, this crisis really guts me, because I don’t want to see my own generation lost. That’s why earlier this summer, I said yes to an invitation to serve as the new director of Thrive, Gig Harbor’s multi-church young adult ministry.
For those unaware, began in 2012 under the leadership of Tim and Karen Cedarland as a collaborative effort of several churches to reach 18-to-20-somethings in our community. Since then, we’ve watched with amazement as God has transformed the lives of hundreds of young adults. We’ve seen Thrivers recommit their lives to Christ, get reconnected to the local church, and be raised up as leaders in our community.
I’m honored to be one of those leaders. As a son of Chapel Hill, an alum of Whitworth, a graduate of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, and a long-time Thriver, I’ve had the opportunity to be mentored by some incredible Christian role models, including Pastor Mark. To be able to give back to the very Gig Harbor community that has given so much to me is a tremendous joy.
This role has me hugely excited. As Thrive’s director, I’ll be working under the Cedarlands (who’ll continue to serve Thrive as regional directors), collaborating with the many churches in Gig Harbor who’ve come together to make Thrive possible (including Chapel Hill!), and pouring into the lives of dozens of young adults.
Chapel Hill family, thank you so much for helping send me out. You’ve supported and encouraged me over the years, and I wouldn’t be in the role I am today if it weren’t for you. On Sunday after both services, Thrive will have a presence at the Connect Center in the lobby outside the Sanctuary. I’d love to share with you more about what we see God doing among the young adults of Gig Harbor, so don’t be a stranger!
P.S. from Pastor Mark: The scripture text from Romans 1 upon which I will be preaching this weekend transformed Martin Luther’s life. I pray it will do the same for all of us. And… to you 10:45 am worshippers who made an extra effort to be there for our “opening kickoff”right at 10:45… thank you! It makes such a difference.