by Neil McKown, Director of Youth Ministries
What happens when you put a dozen youth together with a seemingly daunting task—building a cardboard city in 26 hours? Stay tuned to find out the shocking finale to FPC Tyler Youth Group Lock-in. (cue dramatic music)
Sounds like the beginning to a reality TV show, doesn’t it?
The opening scene would zoom in on the bright, smiling faces of our youth with willingness and excitement in their eyes, and then in the background you’d see a couple of folks yawning—it is 8 a.m. during the summer, after all.
(Several shots of youth cutting card- board and 20+ hours of Pixar movies).
Skip to the end of the show and you would see our youth sitting together sharing inside jokes and experiences from the night before: who snored the loudest, who stayed up the longest, what games they like best and what are the latest Pokemon they’ve caught on their Pokemon Go apps—not everything in this hypothetical show can be action and adventure! (Pull the camera back as we have a large group hug, and fade to black.)
Credits start rolling.
Okay, putting aside the fake TV show script, that would have won many awards I have no doubt! However, when asked why do you come to youth events like these? Ty Dowdy said, “because I feel like everyone understands me.” Michael Palady added, “it’s fun. I get to hang out with my friends, and I can relate to everyone.”
As I sit in and amongst these sleep deprived youth what comes to mind is John Calvin. Yes, I am a Presbyterian nerd...what can I say...but John Calvin comes to mind because he was the one who deemed the church the “Holy Community.” We cannot be a faithful Christian on our own. We build community constantly because God has created us to be a relational people, and these students of all age groups— from our incoming 6th graders to our graduated 12th graders—resonate with this need most of all.
Community is key.
At FPC, we strive to build and maintain an authentic community for these amazing students to grow in amazing students to grow in their faith, learn about God, and serve others all the while knowing that they can be totally and completely authentic. As we move closer to the beginning of the school year, we will have many opportunities for students to experience God. Join us in Sunday school classes (this year we will have separate middle school and high school classes!), high school small groups on Wednesdays, our monthly youth group outings, or participate in the various conferences - we have a place for everyone!
Let us make community a priority and embrace John Calvin’s “Holy Community” mentality.