You might be a student, a parent, someone considering helping with student ministry, an atheist, a soccer mom, or a terrorist. The fact remains; you are reading this letter to learn about the ReFormed Student Ministry with the intention of “checking us out”… if you have read this far, I would encourage you to continue to the end…
The ReFormed Student Ministry at Chapin Presbyterian Church has a simple, yet beautiful vision; it is a story we are writing by God’s grace, for His glory, and our good. ReFormed exists to bring students into the visible body of Christ, where they are nurtured to love God and all people in order to be equipped for the joyful service of disciple making in their local, national, and international neighborhood. What you just read was the vision statement that guides this ministry. The purpose is never to “get numbers”, to be the “cool” youth group, or to preach anything other that the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Allow me to explain how we strive to accomplish this by God’s grace.
Student Ministry Team Members are crucial. At the writing of this letter we have over 400 people that attend the church on Sunday mornings and engage in some sort of disciple/small group. The goal of the student ministry team is to have the church, as a whole, identify their time, talents, and calling to serve with the student ministry. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” As God’s covenant people we are called to teach and talk to God’s covenant children of God’s grace and law. Notice: YHWH does not say at the end “As long as Clemson isn’t playing” or “Well, I guess if I liked students more” or “SHEESHH! These savages scare me to death”… I am telling you there is some way for the entire church of God to interweave generationally with the students of the church.
People at times tell me, “I love to see the work you are doing with our future church!” Typically, I clear my throat and respond, “This is not the church of the future, they are the church of now”. I pray, whoever is reading this, whether student, parent, congregant, or visitor… Serve your church, serve the students, and serve them well. There is something for everyone! Don’t believe me?! Ask… firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our ministry philosophy for the ReFormed Student Ministry again is not fun and games… It is to make disciple-making disciples! It is to encourage and enable the young people of God to realize their identity and relationship to God, to each other, and to God’s creation by the grace that has been granted through Christ. Our emphasis during the 2016-17 school year will be our discipleship groups. This is where students meet in a particular community of same sex and school level to interact with each other in an authentic and honest way while being led by a mature, trustworthy, and faithful teacher of God’s word that will lead our students into the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus. Each discipleship group will be responsible to plan and execute one fellowship activity and one service activity every two months; the range of meaning for that is up to the groups and their leaders. If doing co-discipleship group activities with another group is something you want to do… THEN DO IT!
There will be various planned group activities, discipleship groups, fellowship, growth, and service opportunities throughout the year. Please notice, our calendar does not look “jam packed” and it is that way for a reason. As the ReFormed Student Ministry team we want to serve our students and the best way to do that is by enabling them to have a certain amount of “buy in”. They also must realize that they are not the church of the future, but the church of right now.
Thus, if the students would like a New Years Eve Party, or Tail Gates, or a Firework Show, or Clown that swallows flaming daggers, the student ministry team is behind them 100% and we will help guide them along the way. But, our purpose is to enable and equip disciple-making disciples who engage in joyful service and loving fellowship… If all events and service projects are something our students just “show up” to and don’t help organize, they will never learn to do it as a lifestyle. One goal is for students to engage in true lifestyle change, and lifelong service and disciple making unto the glory of God.
So, the calendar highlights major events to plug in now for your family calendars, there will be events added throughout the year. This schedule is not the gospel and not set in stone, it can change because life changes. But don’t be weary, any schedule changes or additions will be communicated ad nauseam.
Throughout the year we will have a fall retreat for MS and HS individually, a combined winter retreat, a special graduating seniors only trip, and a national (yet far away) missions trip for all students. If your student is interested in serving on the foreign mission field there are plenty opportunities for them throughout the year to serve abroad with other mission teams from CPC. With that said, we will gladly assist any student to find an organization or trip that they feel called to be on.
I really want our students to be enabled and equipped to go forth and make disciples according to the burdens set on their heart. For example, if the Maine mission trip won’t work with a students schedule I would never want them to think, “darn, I really want to go serve but I can’t because Trevor can’t read a schedule”. What I want, and what we will be cultivating in the student ministry this year is, “Hey Trevor, your dates don’t work for me here, but I found an awesome ministry in Minnesota that trains pot belly pigs to be companions for the elderly. There are 5 of us that want to go, can you help us set this up?” My heart would be over joyed and I would be dropping to my knees thanking God that our students are being proactive servants! And as long as there wasn’t something conflicting in the schedule (like VBS, the Maine Mission Trip, or the Sr. Mission Trip) then I would go along with them!
I will be the first to admit, our church is not perfect, our members and visitors are not perfect, and the ReFormed Student Ministry definitely is not perfect… But our goal, what we are striving for is perfection. Enclosed in our catalogue you will find the calendar, discipleship groups, flyers of events, explanation in more detail of ministry philosophy, contact information, suggested reading list, and some other stuff has probably crept its way in… but everything that we do is guided by scripture, it has the intention of glorifying God and its participants finding their true joy and identity in service and fellowship with God. This document has been prayed over and thought about painstakingly!
By reading this 1,400 word letter you have taken a snow-flake off of Mount Everest; this is a glimpse of our heart at the ReFormed Student Ministry and we feel honored and blessed that you would trust us with your children, or that you would consider to serve the church with us, or at least have satisfied some curiosity by reading this far.
We love dialogue; if there is something you don’t like, want to change, really enjoy or want to encourage or whatever we are open to any and all communication! It was not in our budget to buy a mind reading machine this year so we will need to hear your voice any way you would like to speak it! We love these students, we love Jesus, and we want to honor him and kill our own pride and agendas as a leadership team.
Please partner with us with by praying every day for the ReFormed Student Ministry at CPC!
Grace and Peace,