Passing on discipleship to a new generation

Passing on discipleship to a new generation

Eighteen years ago, my youth pastor began investing in my life. At the time, he probably had no idea the impact that his investment would have on a 16-year-old unchurched teenager. He was just one of the many people who took the time to invest in my life during those formative years.

The encouragement, support, and service opportunities my mentors gave me helped reveal my calling to ministry. The impact of adults investing in the lives of teenagers is something that cannot be overstated. But the challenge is that we may not see the fruit of that investment.

My very first ministry position was as a youth intern for middle school and high school programs at Faith Community Church in Fillmore, California. Although I was 18 and inexperienced, I knew there were kids who didn’t know Jesus, and I wanted them to know him. There were a lot of responsibilities that I wasn’t sure I would be able to fulfill because of my age, education, and experience. However, God is good and used the leaders in my life to disciple me.

Now here I am at Chapel Hill—discipling students in the same ways I was discipled as a teenager. Recently, I received a message from one of my former students to whom I ministered as an intern. He recalled an event I put on when I was an intern and shared how meaningful this event was for his own relationship with Jesus. This was a reminder that the investments we make now in the lives of teenagers provide a spiritual foundation for them as they continue to mature in Christ.

This weekend, we will examine how we as a church can be a part of that story for our children and youth. I am sure there are plenty of people here at Chapel Hill who feel like I felt: inexperienced, not the right age, and lacking knowledge. But our God is great at using the willing to break through barriers and reach people for his kingdom.

I am excited to share this weekend about how we can lean into the gifts God has given us, and be a part of someone else’s story that makes an impact for years to come. I’m also thrilled for you to experience God’s work through our students, as they participate in leading at all three weekend services (Saturday at 6:30 pm, and Sunday at 9:00 and 10:45 am). Here are some next steps you can take this weekend:

  • Encourage our youth by donating to the “Youth Wall” fundraiser. Pick an envelope between 1 and 150 and donate that amount to provide scholarships for our kids to go on mission trips and summer camps.
  • Celebrate 20 years of children’s ministry as we say goodbye to Deb Robertson. Festivities will take place this Sunday at noon in the Gathering Place.


Ryan Palmer
Director of Family Ministry