The theme of this year's youth programing at St. John is based on the great commission given by Christ to his disciples in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 28. During his time with his disciples after the resurrection and before his ascension, Christ, commissions his disciples to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Mt. 28:19-20 RSV2CE).
Simply put, out mission as Christians is to make disciples. Discipleship is heavily rooted in relationship--three relationships actually: with God, with yourself, and with others. To put this in the context of our faith journey, typically we encounter the Lord, we subsequently come to a deeper understanding of who we are and how we were meant to live in light of what Christ did for us, and then we go out to share our experience of the living God with others so that they too can experience the love, joy, peace, strength, and grace that comes from a life with Christ.
In light of this mission, our vision for youth ministries here at St. John is to provide environments in which every student has the opportunity to encounter the Living God and to build healthy, meaningful, and fruitful relationships with God, self, and others. This is accomplished through encounter opportunities and fellowship. However, the adventure of our faith doesn't stop there. Our Theme this year intentionally emphasizes the word "GO". Christ did not merely sit in the temple and wait for people to come to him. Although there were frequently people seeking Christ out, he also went to meet people where they were and called them to an exceptional life. Just as Christ went out to the tax office and called Matthew, and to the well to meet the Samaritan woman, he desires to meet you right where you are. He is calling us to an exceptional life, and he desires to use us to meet others where they are and call them too.
In John 10:10, Christ tells us that he came that we might have life, and have it abundantly. What a gift! The Most High God loves us so much that he sent his only son to free us from the weight of sin and the burdens of this life that we might have abundant life through him. We sincerely hope that you take the opportunity to join us for one of the many opportunities that we have available this year for both middle school and high school students to encounter the living God, and build meaningful relationships, and be empowered to step into their daily as witnesses to the power and love of God in our lives.