Thankful To A Gracious God
As 2020 winds down (and we exhale a sigh of relief), we find ourselves relearning a lot of things, adjusting to “new normal” (I’ve really grown tired of that phrase), and getting back to living our lives. Many of our ministries have resumed, with some restrictions but we are thankful they have resumed, nonetheless. The Lord has certainly been gracious to EFC during the past few months as we have dealt with the aftermath of COVID-19, wildfires, a tumultuous election season, and perhaps other personal struggles and difficulties. We are extremely blessed to not only be meeting together in person, in our sanctuary, but to be growing in number with each passing week and seeing our giving remain steady and healthy.
The same can be said about our Student Ministry. A few months ago, at our Church Family Business Meeting, I shared that the summer had been tough for our students, on the youth ministry, and on me. There were discouragements about school not being able to start back, our attendance waning, and a general lethargy surrounding the youth group. I asked for prayer to get through that time and the Lord has been gracious to answer that prayer.
We resumed meeting in person in September, deciding to keep both groups (Jr. High and High School together) and to move our regular Bible study night to Wednesday nights. On our first night back, we had 20 students! That was up from the 7-8 we had been having throughout the summer. Fast forward just a few weeks and we had almost 30 in attendance at the end of October. If one thing has been learned over the past few months, it’s that people crave community. I addressed this in my last article, talking about how essential the church is and the need to gather together.
It’s not just the numbers that have grown over the past weeks. It has been a joy to see our group grow spiritually during this time as well. We have spent the past couple of months talking about the Fruit of the Spirit, how there are certain expectations for how Christians should live their lives. Students have been receptive to the messages and living them out as I’ve seen them come to Bible study with a joy in their hearts to be together and study the word together. I’ve witnessed students welcoming new faces, encouraging one another, inviting friends and even holding bible studies outside of youth group.
We entered the fall with a new leadership team and they have hit the ground running with lots of great ideas for new events, how to make new students feel included and with a desire to grow in their relationship with Christ (which they are using to encourage their peers to do the same). I have been highly encouraged by the efforts of these students and am very hopeful for the future of the student ministry.
The hope that I have is because I know Christ will not abandon His bride. When the church is faithful to serve the Lord as we’ve been called to do, He will sustain us through any challenges. Keith Getty writes in his song, “O Church Arise,”
“When faced with trials on ev'ry side, We know the outcome is secure, And Christ will have the prize for which He died An inheritance of nations”
Soli deo gloria,