From the Pastors' Desks

New Growth - Pastor of Youth and Evangelism

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Well, it’s official – Spring is underway. I saw my first Red-winged Blackbird today, two of them! That, combined with this gorgeous 60-degree sunshine, has persuaded me to trust that winter is over.  Sure, we might see a few snowflakes yet, but once the blackbirds show up – there is no turning back!

Spring is a wonderful time of change, a time of growth - new things, new life.  And as it is in the natural world, so it is in the church. I’m excited to let you know about the Session’s decision to move forward with the search for an Associate Pastor of Youth and Evangelism. 

We’ve been talking about the need to bolster our Youth Ministry for several years.  In God’s providence and provision, we can finally move forward! And it is essential that we do so.  

As you know, the Lord has blessed us with a large youth group, led by devoted leaders who love the Lord and these kids passionately. And they are begging for help.  Whatever forces might be at play, those who are engaged in youth ministry are universally agreed that something is different compared to even five years ago and profoundly different from ten years ago.  Our young people are facing new and greater social pressures, experiencing greater stress, struggling with their faith, their self, and their relationships in a greater way.  Parents are facing brand new challenges.  This is not a time to maintain the status quo and hope for the best.

When we baptize our covenant infants, we take a vow together to “assist their parents in their Christian nurture”.  One of the ways we can do this is by calling a gifted pastor to help us shepherd these precious young sheep. 

Our goal is not to call someone to simply “run a youth program”.  The goal is very specifically to call someone who can help us disciple our young people in Christ. Our desire is to build a culture here at Harvest where it is natural and normal for our young people to feel known, loved, and discipled to be devoted followers of Jesus Christ.  No matter what school they go to. No matter what struggles they face or what color their hair might be.

We realize that youth ministry could warrant a full-time position of its own; however, I am excited about this joint youth-evangelism position for several reasons.

  1. It is an essential first step forward. As Mark DeVries points out in his excellent book Sustainable Youth Ministry, the key to a long-lasting, fruit-bearing youth ministry is not “hiring the right guy” but in laying the right foundation and committing to the long process of building. This new pastor is not the last step in this process but the essential first one.  We plan to continue to build a youth ministry worthy of the calling we have received from Christ to shepherd the souls He has entrusted to our care.
  2. It is a fruitful combination of callings. Our eager desire, and Christ’s command, is to “make disciples”, beginning with our own children.  God has given us children so that we might teach them to love and serve and fear the Lord (Deuteronomy 4:10, 31:13). And one of the best ways to learn the faith is by sharing As Paul writes in Philemon 6, “I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective to the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.”  Our desire is to see our young people follow Christ, not just in their morality, but in His mission!  We want to see our young people orient their lives around the worth of Jesus, the need of the world, and the gospel mission of the church. 

Consequently, we are very excited about having a Spirit-gifted evangelist (Ephesians 4:11) intentionally engaged in discipling our youth. Please join us in prayer as we embark on this season of growth and change in the ministry of the gospel here at Harvest Church!

 

In His Service,

Pastor Dale 

P.s. Next week, I plan to address more specifically the vision for the “Evangelist” aspect of this position. Please take a moment to watch the video below which addresses the history behind the youth and evangelism pastoral position.

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Not yet but the kids will be involved during the Candidating process. Those who are professing members will also have a vote.
Are any of the youth involved in this search and interview process?

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