Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. – 1 Timothy 4:12
My challenge this morning is one of volume. How do I avoid using all 100 really great photographs I took documenting this weekend’s dynamic “Youth Sunday” at WFPC yesterday morning?
Of course, I can’t embed that many images in a short post, and I won’t subject you to a slide show that long (I’ve only included 24). But it was one of those days where everything seemed to frame up beautifully, and my only real issue was lighting.
I think everything framed up beautifully because it was a beautiful morning. And it wasn’t one of those occasions where a bunch of uninvolved, mostly absent kids show up because Youth Sunday is a “rite of passage.” No, these young people were worshipping from their hearts; they were sharing a deep, authentic, day-to-day faith. They attend church, they participate in mission, they’re committed to youth activities, they witness, and they serve.
The seniors took the lead roles, and five shared poignant, well thought out, challenging, inspiring messages with the congregation.
The youth band – “Timeless Creation” – led all the music. Over the past two years they have coalesced into a tight, creative, talented band. High schoolers read the scriptures and the prayers, led the liturgy, and taught the children’s time beautifully; then the middle school “Skit Squad” offered an unforgettable interpretation of the Book of Ruth.
FAMILY: The theme of the morning was “family” and the young people gathered at the front of the church for the liveliest sung benediction you’ve every heard – a passionate reinterpretation of the Sister Sledge classic, “We are family (I’ve got all my sisters with me).”
You can’t have a ministry this vital without committed, imaginative, cutting edge leadership. Youth director Amy Donahoo does amazing work, and her team of advisors are second to none. In May around 30 8th-grade students will be confirmed and join the church – but that’s another story for another post.
So for today, I invite you to do two things.
- Celebrate with us, and enjoy the pictures below.
- Do something to encourage the young people at your own church – and their leaders too. They’re not “the church of the future,” these wonderful teens are the church of NOW.
In love, and with gratitude – DEREK
(“click” the first photo and scroll through the slides:)
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.