We had our youth ministry's fall kickoff on Wednesday. Honestly since the first of this month, I have had, as my son calls them ... the "shivers" ... because I've been so excited about kicking off our fall. In youth ministry the fall always brings with it a fresh group of students, a new excitement, and new opportunities. We had an awesome summer and we took just a bit of time to reflect on it during our night, but the focus was moving forward in our youth ministry and really seeking to follow God's lead.
We talked about walking through our fears and being willing to take a stand. We showed the clip of "The Tank Man" of Tiananmen Square in China and how this one man with two shopping bags said enough was enough and he took a stand. That stand stopped a regiment of tanks. We looked at the life of Jesus' disciples from the moment Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:43 - 50) up to the Day of Pentecost. What's amazing is that the disciples ran away when Jesus was arrested. They were so afraid and they deserted their leader and friend. They watched Jesus be beaten and killed and even denied knowing who Jesus was. And, after Jesus died, the disciples were still so afraid that they locked themselves in a room and hid because they thought they would be next. But, these same disciples who were so afraid were the ones who God used to literally change the world. And, the difference was the Holy Spirit. God's very presence indwelt these men and when they finally realized whose they were and who was on their side, it changed their lives from the inside out. And, from that moment on "people took note that these men had been with Jesus." (Acts 4:13).
My challenge to our kids was to take a stand and live differently. There should be a distinct difference between how someone with the Holy Spirit and someone without the Holy Spirit lives their lives. Do people "take note" and see that we have been with Jesus. We ended our night with a challenge for kids to come forward and respond to Jesus ... if they needed Him and His help in their lives ... if there was something they needed to get right with Him. It was awesome to see kids respond and I believe this night really helped set the tone for our fall.
Our response at the end of the night
Some of our girls enjoying time with each other.
A new game we tried called "I Love Planking"
An interview with some of the kids who were on mission trips over the summer.
Next week we begin focusing on the 4 core values we have as a youth ministry and helping our kids know how they can get plugged in to each one.