Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.
-- Romans 12:1
In the previous issue of the Oakleaf, I talked about the changes we're making in the way we do youth Sunday School. Many of you who saw my article have taken the time to give me your feedback, and the feedback has been very positive. Some people have approached me with an idea for a class, or a desire to help by teaching a class, which encourages me greatly. The new structure begins on September 16th, so please pray for God's blessing on this new endeavor.
This time, I'd like to talk about another new addition to the Fair Oaks Youth Ministry landscape this fall. God has put in on my heart to start a Youth Worship Night.
Imagine it with me for a moment.
It's a Saturday evening. Students have been gathering at the church for the last hour or so. Some are in the gym playing basketball, some are up in the game room playing pool, and others are just hanging out talking with their friends. You can hear the student worship team upstairs in the high school room warming up, and there's a feeling of anticipation in the air.
Then, when the time comes, we all head up to the high school room. The worship team, made up of students of various ages and grade levels, leads us in a couple of songs. Next, a junior higher rises to her feet to give an Opening Reading of Scripture. A group of high school students present a short drama they have created and prepared, just for tonight, as an offering to God. Then a young man comes forward to teach a devotion on the goodness of God, preparing the hearts of his hearers for communion.
And as all this is happening, you get the very real sense that this is not a program. It's not a show, or a performance of any kind. It is a group of people who love Jesus, coming together to give Him a gift of worship, to give Him their very best.
That is what I believe this Youth Worship Night is intended to be, and here are just some of the benefits:
Equipping: I believe that the primary role of youth ministry is to come alongside students to help them become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Part of that job is teaching them how to use the gifts and talents God has given them for his glory. We must give our students opportunities to "try their gifts out," to develop them, and to see God move in them. Youth Worship Night will be one such opportunity.
Community: Imagine all the students of Fair Oaks - junior high, high school, and college - coming together to worship our Lord with the gifts and talents He gave them. By breaking out of our isolated programs and coming together in worship, we demonstrate that we are one body, one family, unified in our love for God.
Culture of Worship: Far too often, we in the church come into a worship service on Sunday morning looking for what we can get out of it. We begin to put ourselves at the center, and take away God's rightful place as the worship service's audience. Youth Worship Night is an effort to create a different kind of culture, a culture that sees worship as a service to God instead of man, a culture that comes to church looking to give rather than to get.
On September 29th, we will have the first of what I hope will be many Youth Worship Nights. Everyone is welcome at this gathering, so feel free to join us if you'd like. Please pray for the ongoing preparations and the students who will participate. Most of all, please pray that our efforts would be pleasing to God.
Thanks again for your support.
In His Service,
Pastor Gary Weston
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Youth Worship Night
For those of you who didn't get a chance to peruse the latest Oakleaf, here's a reprint of Gary's description of our upcoming new youth worship night. Please pray that the Holy Spirit would guide as we prepare for the first one.