It’s crazy to think that I have been the Youth & Worship Pastor at South for 15 months now! It is such a blessing and privilege to serve in this capacity and be a part of the work that God is doing here. More specifically, it has been an indescribable blessing and honor to be able to minister to and reach the next generation for Christ!
This past January, the youth ministry here at South Baptist Church was “rebranded”. Unlike some larger churches (at least the ones that I have observed), we didn’t simply pick a name for the ministry because it sounded cool (it does sound cool, by the way). We wanted this name or theme to represent who we want to be and what our mission is. That’s why we chose the name “City On A Hill”.
This theme comes from Jesus’ sermon on the mount in Matthew 5. He says in verses 14 through 16:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
As followers of Christ, we need to be a light in this dark world. We need to be like a “city on a hill” which can be seen clearly by everyone around and points to the way, the truth, and the life.
During the time of Christ throughout the Middle East, cities were built on hills. Not only was this great for defending the city in times of attack, but it was also practical for helping people see it. When traveling through the wilderness and deserts of that region, one could easily get lost. The city that was built on the hilltop rose above the rest of the terrain and was easily seen in the distance. During the night, the light from the city would shine brightly in the darkness and be clearly seen. It pointed the way. That is what Jesus means when he tells us to be like a “city on a hill”. We need to shine the light of Jesus so that everyone around us can clearly see it.
That is what we want the youth ministry of South Baptist Church to be characterized as. Everything we do is done with that purpose and mission in mind. We want to reach those who are far from Christ with the light of the Gospel, and we want those who already have a relationship with Him to shine the light of Christ in their worlds and be more like Him everyday.
God is working in the lives of the teenagers of this church. He is growing them up as they follow Him and is using them to reach their friends, family, and neighbors for Him. He is also giving us opportunities to share the Gospel with teens who are far from God and give us a chance to build relationships with them. There’s a lot to be excited about!
If I were a betting man, I’d say you were probably saying to yourself, “Wow! I wonder how I could be a part of this awesome ministry?” Well, I’m glad you are thinking that and asked that question! There are a few simple things you can do to help us:
1) You can pray. Pray that God would help the teens to unashamedly follow Jesus. Pray that God would be the sole thing that they worship every single day. Pray that God would bring teens into our midst who don’t know Christ, and that we would have the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with them. Pray for the leaders as they invest in and disciple the teens. Pray for me as I lead this ministry and minister to the teens. We can’t do this on our own strength. We need God’s help.
2) You can give. There are a number of retreats and conferences that we attend that we believe are enormously beneficial and effective in helping these teens mature spiritually. There is a cost to these events and there are some teens whose families can’t afford for them to go. Maybe God has blessed you and wants to use you to enable a teenager to be challenged spiritually and encouraged in a great way at one of these events.
3) You can be an example. Maybe God is specifically challenging you to spend some time with one of these teens. You could go through a Bible study with them. You could take them out to eat and give them an opportunity to ask you questions. Maybe God simply wants to use you to say hello and show some love and support to them. They need to see godly examples to follow.
God is working in the youth ministry at South Baptist Church. How can you be a part of it?