On July 4, our student ministry took a team of ten students and six adults to Montreal, QC to serve for one week alongside Renaissance Church—a five year old church that is seeking to reach the lost in their city with light of the gospel.
Serving Renaissance Church
What did we do on this trip? We did what Renaissance church does all the time. We got to join and assist them in the work of the ministry. We were serving in a few community outreach locations (these are not Christian organizations) as a way for Renaissance to continue to develop relationships with the people and businesses in the community, build bridges for gospel conversations, and connect them to the local church. Their active involvement in loving their neighbors in this city has caused Renaissance to be well thought of by outsiders (1 Pet 2:12). It was something for me to be mindful of, as I come back to my own community in Midlothian/Chesterfield.
Our team served hard in these organizations and did it with joy and without complaint. After spending several hours serving in this way, our separate teams went out into local parks, loving our neighbors and engaging them in conversation—seeking gospel conversations. Our team was able to have plenty of gospel conversations throughout the week, even with people from different nations. We are praying for God to give the growth to the seeds that were planted.
The neighborhood of Renaissance is 20% Muslim. Our students were able to engage with this community throughout the week in local parks. On a particular afternoon, one of our own students was able to share Jesus with a Muslim boy who was making crafts with her in Oscar Peterson Park. By the grace of God, Grace asked that boy if he wanted to trust in Jesus and he said yes. The Spirit used Grace to lead that boy to faith in Christ. We rejoice! And we also pray for the genuineness of his faith, that God would give the growth as he goes back home to a Muslim family. Only God can change the heart and produce lasting fruit!
Our students got to see what Christ is up to in the most lost major city in North America (99.3% of the population are unbelievers). God is on mission in Montreal, and we were able to join him in what he is already doing to save his people in that city. I love that city. I love the Pastors, James and Graeme, and their faithfulness to love their neighbors, preach the gospel, build gospel community, and reach Montreal for Christ. I am praying for them, and I ask that you would as well.
Our students served well, loved each other, laughed a lot, worked hard and worked with joy. It is blessing to see Christ in them. It is a joy to serve with them and see them grow to love the mission of Christ around the world.
Student Camp in Ridgecrest, NC
On July 29, a group of 42 students and adults spent 5 days in the mountains of North Carolina at the Ridgecrest Conference Center. It was a time of worship, Christ-centered preaching, small group discipleship, and serving together on mission in local nursing homes.
Life Changing Preaching
During the week, we sat under the preaching of Tony Merida. Tony is a personal hero of my mine when it comes to preaching. His faithfulness to the Bible and Christ-centered expository preaching is a model for my own life and ministry. I was so thankful that our students and adults were blessed to sit under his humble, gospel-centered preaching for the week. Our students expressed how much they were built up by his faithful preaching of God’s Word. That made me happy. It truly was life-changing gospel power in the hearts of our students.
New Creations in Christ
There was a girl who joined us for the trip, and this girl does not go to our church, has never visited our church, and the friend that she planned to come with wasn’t able to come. But this rising 7th grade girl decided to come anyway—knowing no one. I along with many on our trip, were praying specifically for her to come to Christ and for our group to show her the love of Christ. Our girls took her right in and made her a part of the family. They included her in everything, sat by her, made sure she was not left out. One particular night towards the end of the trip, she had a profound experience with the Lord during worship. During that same night, separate from the worship service, God used two of our middle school girls to lead her to surrender her life to Christ! It was miraculous moment. She went from death to life right before our eyes. A girl, who had every reason not to come, came with us. And God saved her for all eternity. Our students got the joy of being used by God to lead their new friend to Jesus. That is what it is all about!
Another one of our students, who hates to talk but is faithful to the youth group, was bold enough to speak to the group one night and confess before everyone that she too had made a true surrender to Christ (she called it a rededication), but what she was describing was that she had become a new creation in Christ! One of our own leaders on the trip was used by the Holy Spirit to lead her to Jesus. Time would fail me to express all of the ways in which God worked in our students.
Christ in Them
The greatest joy I receive on trips like these is not just seeing students go from death to life (while that is glorious!). It is seeing the joy and love of Christ radiate from their lives. It is in their open-handed flexibility for how God might use them. It is in the way they served and had gospel conversations at their mission sites every afternoon. It is in the honorable way in which they conduct themselves, their seriousness for worship, their growing love for God’s Word, and the deep love for each other. It is amazing to see Christ in them—the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).
Our students know that we are not like family. We are family. Please pray with me, that the gospel seeds in their hearts would continue to grow and mature into the fullness of Christ.