Learning Alongside Our Youth

By Jack Connolly, Youth Pastor

Posted on January 24, 2013

It's hard to describe what it feels like when I see our kids truly engaging with the Word of God. Last week one of our kids prayed out loud for the first time and the unadorned honesty of his prayer challenged my own prayer life. I feel honoured and grateful to witness their journey and spirit in action.

It's a huge responsibility to provide great Christian role models for our youth. And with our ten capable volunteer youth leaders, it's very exciting to see bonds of trust forming between the kids and their small group leaders.

For our juniors on Sunday mornings we are finishing up the ever popular "Ancestors" series which animates the lives of a wide range of biblical characters and God's impact on them. We discuss what we can learn from these stories and how we can apply them to our everyday lives.  

For our high school seniors we have started a new series called Girl Talk/Guy Talk. We're working through some of the many identity and social issues high school students face, and challenging societal perspectives with biblical ones. It has generated a lot of talk so far, and the groups have requested an additional week to work through their topics.

Meanwhile, there are so many influential people in both peer groups and the media who seem to enjoy ridiculing people of faith. And though I worry about their impact, it is important for us to remember God is in control. While we faithfully share the Word and our testimony, He will perform the work in the hearts of youth.

One new thing we've started doing this year is our weeknight bible study that we hold on Wednesdays. Seeing the youths' enthusiasm after a challenging small group session is very rewarding.

On January 27th we will begin Alpha confirmation classes, preparing our youth to make the first intentional step of their adult Christian lives. This 13-week course will encourage students to consider their faith from the ground up and give them enough experience and knowledge to say “yes” to Jesus with their hearts and minds.

One of the great things about being involved in youth ministry is how often I am challenged to grow in my own faith. It is my prayer that the St. Paul's Youth Group will be a place where our young people can explore tough questions and have important conversations with role models who are living their faith in the world. After all, we can have the best curriculum time and money can afford, but by far the greatest testimony is that which is lived.