It’s been a little more than a year since Pastor Jabez has become our youth pastor. As a person who works closely with him and sees what he does on a daily basis, it is quite impressive how much he’s been able to accomplish in such a short period of time. Externally, he has done a lot to renovate and improve our youth facility which includes the upgraded sound, lighting and multimedia system, the new chairs, the fresh paint, the new carpet, and the new floor.
Internally, he and all the volunteers have spent a lot of time looking into what has been done well and what needs to change in order to make our youth group healthier and they have prayerfully made some small changes such as starting the upcoming 6th grade overnight trip and merging some house churches that were weak and struggling. Through all these under his servant leadership, I have noticed that our youth group is becoming more structured and our youth students are getting more consistent with their worship and Bible study participation.
Some more changes in the youth group that will affect both the KSC and the ESC will take place starting from July.
First, there will be changes in our youth group house church. As Pastor Jabez and the volunteers have honestly looked into our youth group house church this past year, they have come to realize that middle school and high school students don’t connect well due to the differences in their maturity level and the life stages that they are in. This has made it difficult for high school students to reach out to and invite their VIPs to their house churches. And some middle school students’ parents have shown their concern about their children getting exposed to issues and topics that high school students are going through or house church sharing being beyond their children.
Therefore, starting from this school year, the upcoming 6th graders will not join youth group house church on Saturday. Instead, they will have Bible study on Sunday taught and shepherded by adult leaders. And these middle school students will be highly encouraged to join their parents’ house church on Friday. On the other hand, we will grandfather those middle school students who are already in their house churches to stay there. If we implement this change, then our middle school students will completely phase out from the Saturday youth house church in two years.
Second, there will be changes in the youth group Sunday worship time. Currently, we have two worship services for our youth, the first one at 9AM and the second one at 11:45AM. About 150 to 160 students come to the first worship but only about 10 come to the second worship. The second worship has become increasingly smaller in number due to youth Bible study being done in between the first and the second worship. Families with youth students who used to come to the second worship have started to come to the first worship ever since we have instituted youth Bible study in this way.
Starting from middle of July, there will be just one youth worship service at 10:45AM. This has several benefits. One, those youth students who serve during the first worship don’t have to come to church so early in the morning to prepare. Two, some youth students who would like to serve in the KSC can serve during their first worship at 9AM and then come to their youth worship at 10:45AM. Three, New Life members who volunteer in youth ministry can come to the first worship and then will have plenty of time to fellowship with their house church members before they need to go to teach youth Bible studies at 12noon. One possible concern is that those families with youth students who currently come to the first worship will need to come to the second worship. However, this could possibly make Sunday morning time at home more peaceful since they don’t need to come to church until 10:30am to drop off their children to youth worship by 10:45am.
These changes are being made with much observation, reflection and prayer in order to help our youth group and at the same time being considerate of the situations and benefits of all the other departments and groups of people that are represented in both the KSC and the ESC. We will not know what these changes will bring about in our future until we implement them. Therefore, I would like to encourage all the members of New Life to fully and joyfully embrace them at least for a year and then evaluate them. This change is not set in stone. We are committed to make changes to make our church better and healthier.
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