Hey Partners, hope you’ve been travelling well over the past couple months of August and September! I’ve been praying that God would keep growing each of you in the likeness of His Son in the current circumstances that He’s placed you in. Here’s an update of what’s been happening in Parramatta!
Going through Galatians
We’ve been going through Galatians this term. This has been an encouragement for me seeing how we are justified by our faith rather than our works, how we’re free in Christ to love others, and to keep walking in step with the Spirit. Its also been great seeing both our youth and adults wrestle with the truths in this letter and see how this justification brings us great assurance! I had the privilege of preaching chapters 3 and 4 which were challenging in thinking about how to engage youth well ie the purpose of the law, Hagar and Sarah. However, God was very kind in helping me to package them, reminding me that His Word is still living and active today!
My trainer Jaison and I ran some training for our youth leaders on how to give a youth talk which involved understanding the passage’s meaning and context as well as packaging the talk for their chosen audience. We gave two of our leaders Cindi and Zion a go at preaching and they did a great job for their first go! We were encouraged by the efforts they put into preaching Galatians 5, reminding us of our freedom in Christ and the constant conflict
believers have between flesh and Spirit. In T4, we’re also planning to trial some mission nights for our Engage youth on the first 4 Fridays of the term. This is to encourage them to bring their friends along as we saw that Sunday mornings were a lot more difficult. This is also a tester to see whether Friday night youth would be more effective in the long term. We’d really appreciate prayer in planning these nights out and that our youth’s hearts would be motivated to see their friends come to know Jesus!
On the left my Year 7/8 Scripture class is going through the book of Matthew. One guy I’ve been catching up with named David helped lead classes over Term 3. Here’s a snapshot of one of the group’s drawings of
the crucifixion story (thought they did a great job!). It’s been so cool seeing how these students have engaged with God’s Word even
though some of their families don’t go to church! Please pray that they’d consider checking out the Friday nights in T4.
Insights into Friday Hangs
During T3, we ran Friday Hangs over multiple weeks. There were around 10 students in total who attended with 2 being very regular. This has caused our team to reflect on what’s made it difficult for youth to attend and these were our findings:
- Different youth landscape- ~60 kids in Scripture in 2021 vs 25 in 2022 (majority of Friday Hangs youth came from Scripture)
- Many of our junior Scripture classes want to come, but can’t because their parents don’t know us.
- Many of our core Friday Hangs youth from last year can’t make it anymore due to varying reasons (job to support family, tutoring, moving houses)
- The weather was a factor (youth would rather go home on a wet Friday afternoon than attend)
Despite this, I’ve been particularly thankful to God for our team, especially our leader Erick who has trusted God and persevered in a testing season. In saying this, there have been awesome conversations with the youth who do attend! Please continue to pray that God would give us wisdom on how to keep reaching out to these local youth and head back to the drawing board.
In Term 3 we also ran another round of Explore. Please thank God for all the attendees and helpers who came, and the deep conversations that were had. Whilst no one became a Christian over these 4 weeks, a few of them have chosen to move onto Just for Starters and are growing in their understanding of who Jesus is. Please pray for them in that they might respond rightly to who Jesus is and call Him Lord and Saviour.
- Thank God for the clarity on student ministry for next year. I’ll be heading to St Stephens Willoughby (but more on that next time :))
- Please pray for the preparations of the Friday night mission series for Engage. Pray that our team would be dependent on God, that many youth would come and that our own youth would be encouraged to do evangelism.
- Thank God for helping me recover from COVID and the slower period that it was able to give me.