Unity, worship, power, witness… those and many more words could be used to describe some of what God is doing in Peterborough, Ontario.
A few years ago, our church and youth group set out to extend our ministry and our presence into the community by loving others genuinely and intentionally outside the walls of our church building. We realized that as much as we talked about being changed and affecting change, effectiveness would rely on being intentional enough that we would actually leave what’s comfortable (i.e.: our building) and move into the community.
With this in mind, we began regularly canceling “youth group as usual” and organized service nights, connecting with service providers in our community, working to serve those who serve others. As we did that, we ran into unexpected co-workers… brothers and sisters from the church down the road. I walked into the “The Bridge”, a youth drop in for street involved kids in our city. And there was Jim, the youth pastor from Ferndale Bible Church. As we looked at each other and tried to figure out what each other was doing there, we laughed as we realized that we had booked the same service night at the same place on the same week. After that exact thing happened a second time, we figured that God was up to something.
One of the great things about ministry in our city is the connections and unity we experience. It’s an amazing thing to know, support and love others who are kingdom workers here in Peterborough. Church in the City is an organized group of pastors and ministries who pray for and with each other, work together for the common mission of Christ in our city. Jim and I know each other, know each other’s church and trust the call that God has placed in our hearts.
A year later, Jim and I found ourselves co-hosting Youth Unlimited’s Serve week together, celebrating the mission that God has not only placed each of us on, but placed us on together. We kicked off Peterborough Serve 2014 in the middle of Peterborough, the city God has called both our churches to. We held our Sunday service in a downtown park, overlooking the marina on Little Lake: in the same place that just the night before had been the location of Peterborough’s twice weekly free music concert series. In the middle of our community, Ferndale, Living Hope and all our Serve participants sang praises to our God and were commissioned to serving faithfully and enthusiastically for the whole week!
Amazing work was done, we were able to bless some families in their homes and draw alongside all of the same service providers that we had initially begun serving. We even got to send teams to The Bridge for fresh paint and a new look! We also dove deep into what poverty really looks like in our world, and specifically, in our town.
There was some great work done, and not a small part of that work was the binding of hearts of God’s people, on mission.
If you want to get your student ministry out of the church building, download this youth group curriculum called, “Kingdom Living By Mere Mortals”. It is seven sessions based on Isaiah 58 that will educate, inspire and inform your group. It is suggested that your speaker watch the LIVE 58 Film and clips of that film in this series. See LIVE58.org after downloading and reading through the curriculum.