A Church Without Kids!?!

A Church Without Kids!?!

I never planned to be a pastor. Not at first. Not even in the middle. My journey into ministry began by just going to church with my family at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Yakima. Sunday School. Youth Group. (We called it “God Squad”…I know, gag!) Vacation Bible School and summer camp. A traveling high school musical group called “Westminster Presents.” My life was indelibly shaped by the investment my home church made in kids. 

THEN, I became an inadvertent youth director. As a high school student, I noticed that, aside from Sunday School, there was no regular program for 4th-6th graders at Westminster. So, in 1975, I approached several parents and asked if they’d help me start a weekly program. They were thrilled…and we did. We called it “Juniors for Jesus.” “JJs.” By the end of the year, we had 45 kids coming every week. We played crazy games, sang wacky songs, prayed, studied the Bible…and I watched young people give their life to Christ. 

Then came a call to Bakersfield to do youth ministry there. Then seminary. Then, in 1982, ordination. Then Scotland to complete my PhD. And finally, in 1987, I began my 37-year run as Senior Pastor of my Sweetheart Church, Chapel Hill.  

But I never planned to be a pastor. Not for the longest time. I was just blessed…and shaped…and called…by churches that considered a ministry to young people absolutely essential.  

A church like Chapel Hill. When I arrived in 1987, this church already loved and invested in kids! You already had a youth pastor. You already had youth interns. One of the things that made me say “yes” to coming here was your obvious passion to see the next generation raised up to follow Jesus and lead others to him. And believe me, there are plenty of churches that don’t have that passion…or the resources…or both… to do anything about it. We are so blessed! 

This weekend is Youth Sunday, our annual opportunity…and reminder…of the priority we place on young people. We will be led in worship by our students. We will hear more about that program. AND this will be the opportunity to meet our new Director of Student Ministries, Caleb Bagdanov (I can tell you; everyone is very excited about Caleb!). 

Thank you, Chapel Hill, for loving kids! This Sunday, they get a chance to love you back! Don’t miss it.  

Pastor Mark