Student Ministry

 

It’s Back

 
Sometimes vision dies. Pain ensues as loss and grief fill the hearts of those who once owned the vision. Over time the sting subsides, but it leaves a scar, and many times as vision dies it leaves a vacuum. We are told that nature abhors a vacuum, but a new unified vision doesn’t magically fill the emptiness; indirection does. I believe our church felt this very intimately a few years back. When Project Timothy was cut, a hole was left in our church.
 
I have been here for a year now and I am consistently told stories of the amazing things God did through Project Timothy. I also hear something more embedded in the words and body language of the storytellers: sorrow. Teens who are on their way into college lament the loss of the program. Many of them come to me and relay their wish that they would have had the opportunity to launch out into global impact through Project Timothy. As I listen to their powerful stories I’m reminded of how I was shaped as a student by international missions. In fact, it was these experiences that inspired me to go into ministry.
 
Many of you are familiar with Project Timothy. For those of you that are not, it was a ministry that trained and equipped high school and college students to go on short term mission trips. Students from all over the country would descend on our church campus to team up, train, and then be sent on missions across the globe. They would come back with stories of life change, global impact, and a very real sense that God was doing something deeply formative in their hearts. They would build houses, feed the hungry, and care for orphans. It was a massive success.
 
A few years ago our church’s denomination who sponsored and funded the event, decided to move in a different direction. Overnight, one of the biggest vehicles for our church’s vision of Gospel impact and life change was suddenly terminated. Shortly after partnering with CCC I became convinced we had to revive Project Timothy. To make this a reality requires a shift within our student ministry, but I know from experience, it brings life to the church that endeavors to embed a missions culture into its DNA.
So, here is the objective for our student ministry. Within the next three years, what was once a denominational project will become a CCC student ministry-ran initiative for all types of students to go on mission. This will be accomplished through a thorough and intentional process. This year it begins by taking our high school students to Noco, Mexico, to re-infuse a love for missions into their worldview. Next year the plan is to open up three sites and invite students in our region to join us as a pilot program for launching full bore with seven sites in 2021.
 
This task will not be easy. It will take sacrifice and resources and uncomfortable conversations. It will take long nights of volunteering, and phone calls, and budgeting to make this a reality. But I know we can do this. Together we can raise a new generation of world changers whose impact will reverberate throughout eternity. You can be a part of that.
 
Let us know you are interested in supporting and/or volunteering to make Project Timothy a reality. by emailing us at stmn@cccaz.org.
 
We (The Student Ministry Team) can’t wait to link arms with you to help students change the world while God changes them! This is going be an exciting new chapter for CCC. Thank you for your continued support.

Make it to the Throne

I can remember it like it was yesterday. 15,000 Students from all over the country packed into a Denver arena on an unpredictably cold April day. As I gazed around the stadium, I was amazed to see more teens in one place than I had ever seen before packed in ready for the youth conference to start. I can recall praise and worship that evening. Towards the end of the night, the band began to sing the Newsboys hit song from that year, “ It is You.” And it seemed like everything inside and outside of the stadium halted. Like, an out of body experience, as it was us the band and a heavenly host. I had heard of a “move of the Holy Spirit” before, but I had never quite felt anything like this in my previous 16 years of life.
 
Was it people over-emotionalizing a moment? No.

Was it People going wild, and making a ridiculous show of themselves? No.

It was 15,000 teenagers forgetting the cares of life, if for just one moment, and truly focusing on Jesus. No agenda. No performance. Only Jesus and us. And then something happened. The band finished the song. They stopped. But 15,000 rascals who 48 hours prior, were ditching school, forgetting homework, or flirting with girls, continued. No instruments. No leader. Just hearts pouring out to their Father.
 
“It is you we adore; it is you our praises are for…
Holy, Holy is our God Almighty
Holy, Holy is your name alone!”
 
I watched in disbelief. I was in awe. Then silence fell over the crowd. No one spoke. We just stood knowing God was among us. I began to hear crying then shouts of praise, and adoration as one by one the stadium filled with the roar of an awestruck wonder of praise and adoration for the King of Kings…The cheers came to a fever pitch. Fifteen thousand awkward, mischievous teenagers made it to the Throne.
 
It ruined me.
 
I am convinced this should be the aim every week: to travel to the Throne of God together. Beyond the pretense, beyond the performance, into the presence of a Father that dearly loves us despite ourselves. I have seen glimpses from other churches, but I believe that this should be the primary focus of every gathering of believers. I know some may think it is a shame that we are aiming for this type of event as if we believe we can manipulate the Spirit of God (we can’t) or the emotions of other people. We aren’t trying to recreate the occurrence as much as we are trying to experience an encounter with Jesus in this extraordinary way. In fact, it is Scripture that tells us God LIVES in the praises of his people. I believe that this one priority will change the church experience for our students more than anything else.
 
So, as we move into retreat season with our students, we have begun to teach this concept to them. I am excited to show our Jr. High and Sr. High students what worship is all about. As we move towards the heart of Jesus together, I believe we will see more of their friends follow Him and the students move towards leadership and mission.
 
Chestly Lunday

One Response to “Student Ministry”

  1. Richard Steggs says:

    Hey, appreciate your words I remember a couple of camps in the summer I had similar experiences. Remembering those was quite refreshing for me today as I am bobbing off the bottom to breathe and Diving for the drain plug, trying to keep the alligators from biting while doing this , blind stressed and tired, tough week for me and somehow your words brought back a very fond memory that put a smile on my face. Thanks my friend have a good day

Leave a Reply