The Youth Ministry Minute with Tyler Wright
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
These words, written by the Apostle Paul to the Church in Philippi, have been words that I have reflected on a lot since we embarked upon our “Greater Heights” transition. Paul is talking about a whole-hearted pursuit of God’s will for his life and the completion of God’s will resulting in the ultimate prize of an eternity with God. Paul fixed his vision to greater heights than the everyday struggle of man and fixed it upon the eternal struggle of mankind. He focused upon winning people for Christ and not winning fame or popularity for himself. Paul urged others to share his vision and join the pursuit so that they too may receive the prize. I have forced myself to focus my vision upon what Paul was describing in this verse and have been lucky enough to see pieces of that prize in our Youth Ministry this past month.
Last month Liz wrote in The Cornerstone about the success of our student’s involvement in World Vision’s 30-Hour Famine. Detailing not only the money that was raised to help feed and care for struggling children in Ethiopia but also the work God did in the hearts of our students at MacArthur. How the event not only raised awareness and compassion but forced students to look at their lives in comparison with the lives of the children they were trying to support. That discrepancy in living condition is uncomfortable for students to contemplate because it forces them to view their struggles with a different perspective. But as I have learned in my short life, being uncomfortable forces you to grow. People who are comfortable hardly grow because they don’t see the need for change. So witnessing students grow from this event that weekend and the weeks since that event has truly been a blessing.
This past weekend the Mexico Mission Team, a youth-based short-term mission team, held its annual Bunco Fundraiser. This year we received support from over 40 businesses and generous individuals. We had more people in attendance of the event than ever before. People that had never stepped foot in MacArthur
Boulevard Christian Church showed up to support the team and play a light-hearted dice game. Through procuring and inviting people, the presence of God and our Church body was revealed to numerous people in our community and our city. We had a local business not only donate gift certificates to be used as prizes but also made a cash donation out of compassion for the mission of this team. The event was an unbelievable success financially, but also in connecting students with the very people that support them.
As a Youth Program we place a very high value on service and missions in our community and in communities less fortunate and less informed about Christ. In the past 30 days the students at the Church have raised over $2,500 dollars to support mission work in Ethiopia and Mexico. When the numbers were revealed to me I was absolutely amazed by what God was doing through the Youth at this church. We have an amazing group of student-leaders that are seeking to change the world as we know it. Selflessly working to make a difference in the lives of people in distant countries that they have yet to meet. With parents and families that are supporting these students in their efforts and sacrificing their time to help the students reach their goals. I could not be happier to be a part of church family that disciples to their Youth in a way that has brought us to where we are now.
Next week we will be serving the children at the Share-House in Orchards by providing them with an evening activity. An activity that will undoubtedly make the students uncomfortable and force them to grow. An activity that will allow our students to love children whose families have fallen on hard times. An activity that will allow our students to share the Hope they have found in Jesus Christ which will allow them to be a light in a dark situation. I cannot wait to continue to tell you the amazing things God is doing through the Youth at this church.
Over the past year the amount of time I have been privileged to spend with the students at MacArthur Boulevard Christian Church has grown exponentially. A rough recount of the average week has me with students 2 hours Wednesday nights, 2 hours Saturday afternoons, and sometimes 4 hours on Sundays. For students who participate in the Worship Team that’s roughly 8 hours a week. With the occasional fundraiser or special event I spend a great deal of time with the young people of this Church. I even sneak into Children’s Church when given the opportunity. So let me be the one to tell you that the future of this Church is BRIGHT!
I’ve had a front row seat to the growth and development of the youth of this congregation and find it necessary this month to recall just a little bit that you may have missed. I was able to watch two siblings share an unforgettable day in the snow with their youngest sibling as much as they fought me including her in an activity she was not old enough to be a part of. I got a chance to watch a cousin help her younger cousin overcome an embarrassing situation in a public setting. I was fortunate enough to watch another cousin bring his cousin to Youth Group because she wanted to spend more time with him. I’ve been given a great view of the positive effect that Church can have on family relations and vice versa.
I’ve been given the gift of leading Worship with so many students, which is a spiritual act that I hold in the highest regard. Watching students use their gifts to praise the Lord is a blessing I will never be able to repay. To watch students come out of their comfort zone as they take a talent normally restricted to school activities and share it with the Congregation, has been unspeakably fulfilling. To witness students learning from adults and adults learning from students while they bond over worshipping God has accelerated the development of many students in the Youth Group. When I was in Middle School I was given the patience by my Youth Pastor to learn bass from him, and now I have been able to complete that cycle with a student of my own.
And as I write this article, I know that all of this time and growth has left many students wrestling with the idea that they have a big decision to make. Through the teachings of Glen and myself the students know that they need to be baptized, and I get to encourage those students to take that step in their life. For those who have already made that decision they know that they need to live a life that makes a difference by acting on the Faith they have developed. So in the coming months please keep the students in your prayers as they continue to develop.
As I have reflected on all of this, and the time I spent before I was entrusted to lead your students, I wonder how I ever lived without them. A true blessing to spend 8 seconds or 8 hours with, we have a great bunch of students running through these halls. Just thought you might want to know. Until next time…