Canada Baptisms

This summer I had the opportunity to do a youth ministry internship at Church of the Open Door in York, PA. You can read more about my summer by going to the “Youth Internship in PA” category here on my blog and see all the posts I wrote this summer. During my time there, I was able to help lead a trip to Canada. I posted a blog about the trip and you can read it here. While in Canada, we were able to baptize a few of the students. I was able to help the student pastor, Brett Ayers, baptize a few of the students. I already posted a few pictures of the baptisms on another blog, but I just got my hands on a few more I wanted to post.

Baptisms are becoming less and less “popular” it seems in our culture. The importance, and teaching, of baptism is not a priority in many churches. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality. If Christ is in you, you should identity with Him publicly through water baptism. I posted a blog about Elevation Church doing “spontaneous baptisms” awhile back and you can read it here. It was encouraging to see Elevation correctly teaching and making baptism a big deal, because it is a big deal!

Youth Ministry Internship Review

About two weeks ago I finished up my youth ministry internship in York, PA at Church of the Open Door. I posted a few blogs throughout the summer about what I was doing, but wanted to post one last blog reviewing my whole internship. First, it was one of the best summers of my life. I have enjoyed the youth ministry classes over the past few years at PBC, but it was great to finally be in youth ministry for a summer and gain practical experience that I could not have got in the classroom. Second, I am thankful for PBC having a such a great youth internship program that is required for all student ministry minors. Not only am I thankful for the internship PBC supplies, but am thankful for all the great things the youth pastor of COD, Brett Ayers, allowed me to be part of. A few of these things were a trip to Canada, co-leading a Jr. High mission trip, helping plan/run a three night event, teaching a Jr. High Sunday school class, teaching and leading two mid-week services, and many other things.

It would take too much time for me to review in detail the whole summer so I want to reflect on the major thing I learned this summer through my internship. The major thing I learned this summer is the importance of relationships in ministry. Let me explain, I came out of and also volunteered in a great youth ministry which was extremely program based. Don’t get me wrong, I love that youth ministry and God is using it to do great things in the life’s of students. The fact still remains that because of the meeting space and other circumstances the youth ministry is more centered around programs. When I got to the youth ministry of COD this summer the first thing that caught my eye was how relationship based the youth ministry was. Throughout the summer I learned that the personality of the youth pastor and youth leaders where the same, very relationship oriented. Also, the students themselves where extremely relational. This was a hard shift for me because I am very task driven, but I had to learn how to be relational, especially in the area of youth ministry.

Let me sum it up like this, my youth professor at PBC, Shean Phillips, says that the equation for discipleship is this: appropriate relationships + Biblical teaching = Discipleship. I learned this first hand this summer! I have a passion to teach students the Bible, but lack in the area of building meaningful relationships with them. God knew I had a heart to teach students the Bible, but He knew I needed to learn that true discipleship doesn’t happen with teaching alone, it takes a relationship as well. I am thankful that God placed me in a ministry that taught me this and showed me the importance of relationships in ministry. God allowed me to build some strong relationships with students this summer and when I had the privilege to teach them the Bible I saw that my teaching was so much more impactful in their life’s because I had a relationship with them.

So what’s next for me you may be wondering? I’m glad you asked! Tomorrow I will be starting my pastoral internship also required by PBC for pastoral minors. I am doing this internship at Lifechange/Weymouth Community Church under lead pastor Dan Jarvis. This internship is my last piece of education at PBC so I will be graduating this May! I plan to start seminary through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in January online. I will be posting blogs throughout this internship as well. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me this summer and please continue to pray for me as I do this next internship.

Canadian Adventure Review

Last Spring when I was getting my internship nailed down with Church of the Open Door, Brett Ayers, the youth pastor, told me I would be going to Canada with the high schoolers. The moment I hard that I was looking forward to it. This past week was the trip and we took around 30 students and leaders to Canada! We went to a camp called Canadian Adventure which is a ministry of Silver Birch Ranch in White Lake, WI. Canadian Adventure is along the Montreal River and is one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. God’s creation is so beautiful up there and it was great to get away from technology, media, and the busyness of life for a week and enjoy God’s creation.

We did so many things while we were there that it is almost hard to remember all of them much less write about them. We did a lot of hiking and spent two days just doing that. We hiked to water falls called Hidden Falls and also hiked up a mountain called Mt. Sinai. We also did some team building activities the first two days. What we did before we got to Canada is we split all the students up into groups of 4 or 5. Each group had a leader, or two, that lead that team. Throughout the week the students did various things with their team. We did low ropes a few times and each team worked with each other to complete each low rope activity. Also, the teams would meet after the personal devotion time in the morning and discuss what they got out of their devotional time. I had the privilege to lead a team of four students with a college leader named Matt. We had two girls, Katie and Cheyenne, and two guys, Derek and Tyler, on our team. We had a blast as a team and it was an honor to get to know these students and watch the Lord work in their hearts all week. The first few days of the trip we stayed at the main Canadian Adventure camp and only did day activities like low ropes, hiking, swimming, frisbee, volleyball, canoeing, and things like that. On Wednesday was when the trip got really good. The camp has a few cabins along the river and they have one called Blackhawk that is about 30 miles up river.  On Wednesday we loaded up the boats with luggage and food and headed up river. Being on the boat for a few hours was great and allowed us to have time to bond as a group. On the way upriver we stopped at a huge waterfall called Ten Miles Falls. We had lunch on the boat there and then got out and played in the waterfall. It was huge so it was fun to climb up parts of it, swim in it, and go under the water as it came crashing down. After awhile there we headed on upriver and got to our Blackhawk cabin. This cabin was just one big cabin with two side so the guys were on one side and the girls were on the other. We stayed at Blackhawk until Friday so while we were there we had no running water and things like that so all the meals were cooked over a fire which was awesome! Each team was assigned a meal so each team got to cook a meal as well as cleaning up and such. We had two great nights of singing and studying the Bible around the fire at Blackhawk! Thursday was a great day! We went up the river a mile or two from Blackhawk to a huge set of water falls called Golden Staircase. At the bottom of the falls there is a 20-30 foot cliff that is perfect for jumping off of. So we spent some time jumping off the cliff and also had lunch there at the bottoms of the falls. After lunch we did a two-hour solo time. For anyone who doesn’t know that term that just means it’s you alone with God for a certain period of time. We started from the bottom of the falls and just dropped students off in various places along the falls for about a two-mile stretch. They had two hours to do their devotions for the day, pray, sing, or anything that they wanted to connect with God. It was an awesome time for not just the students, but for me! After the two-hour solo time we all meet tat the very top of the falls and had a great time of worship. We all sat by the falls and sang worship songs for about an hour, it was awesome! If you thought Thursday was good, wait until you hear about Friday! So Friday was the highlight for me! There were nine students on the trip who wanted to be baptized. So on Friday morning me and Brett, well Brett lead and I just observed, a baptism class out by the fire. Brett talked to the students about what baptism was Biblically and how it is an outward picture of an inward reality. All the students understood it and were ready! We gathered all the students in the boats and headed back to the base of the cliff we jumped off of Thursday. There each of the nine students shared their salvation testimony and were baptized in the Montreal River, amen! It was awesome! I was privileged to get to help baptize three students! After the baptism we loaded up the boats and headed back to the main Canadian Adventure camp and had a great dinner. Friday night was when God blew us away! We gathered Friday night for our time and worship and little did we know we would end up singing till midnight! One of our leaders, Tia, led us all week with her acoustic guitar and on Friday we started singing and the students didn’t wait to stop! Students, and leaders, were lifting their hands, prayer, and singing their hearts out to God! After a few hours we broke up into our teams for a time of just sharing what God is doing in our hearts and it was great to hear my students on my team open up and share. On Saturday we wrapped up our study in Philippians and started our long journey back to PA. We drove through the night again and arrived back around 9am on Sunday.

Overall the trip was amazing! God worked in my heart and it was amazing seeing students changed by God and His Word all week! Below our some pictures from the trip. You can click on the pictures to make them bigger.

Here is a picture of all the leaders at the top of Golden Staircase!

Here our some pictures of the whole group. First picture was at Golden Staircase and the second picture was on top of Mt. Sinai.

Here is a picture of my group for the week! (Tyler, Matt, Katie, Me, Cheyenne, Derek)

This guy was an intern at Canadian Adventure so with both of us having the common bond for being an intern we had to get a picture together.

This is me jumping off the cliff. Not the best picture, but the only one I had of me jumping.

The best pictures of the whole trip, the baptisms! I helped baptize three of the students and you can see those picture below.

Here are a few pictures of me with some of the students!

Your Love Never Fails

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about the song “Give Me Faith” by Elevation Worship that God was using to minister to my heart at the time. You can read that post here. God has been using another song to minister to my heart right now and figured I would post a video of it and maybe God will use it to minister to you as well. The song that God has been using is called “Your Love Never Fails” by Jesus Culture. I first heard the song at Skyview Ranch because it would play on the speakers outside as campers came on Monday mornings, but recently heard it again as the worship band did it here at COD for a youth event called Ignition. You can read all about that awesome event here. This song is so awesome because I think it expresses the way many of us feel as Christians sometimes. We make mistakes, we sin, we rebel against God’s Word, but we must remember that even in those times God loves us! That truth is expressed throughout the song and every time I hear this song Romans 8:38-39 comes to mind. Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The bridge of the song is powerful as it reminds us of the promise given to us in Romans 8:28 where it says, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Watch the video below where Jesus Culture does this song live and allow God to minister to you through it.

Here are the lyrics:

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There maybe pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

Verse 2:
The wind is strong and the water’s deep
But I’m not alone in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I’d reach the other side
But Your love never fails

You make all things work together for my good

All Scripture from English Standard Version

Youth Internship Update

I’m wrapping up week #4 of my youth internship in York, PA. I wanted to post a blog every week updating everyone on what is happening, but I have been too busy to get to it. My first blog update can be found here. I figured it was time to set aside some time and give a quick update of what has been happening for the past weeks. If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook you probably saw me talk about an event called Ignition that we had last week. It went great and you can read all about that event on another blog post I posted earlier this week here. Everything I did for the first two weeks I was here led up to Ignition so it was nice to see that event work out and move forward. The next big thing on my plate is to prepare a daily devotional journal that each student will receive as we go to Canada on July 2nd thru the 10th. Yes, you read that right, I’m going to Canada! We are taking the high schoolers and I am in charge of getting the devotional journal together. All the daily devotionals will come out of the book of Philippians so up until Canada I will be focusing on finishing that up. As I am writing this I am extremely tired because we just had two big activities back to back. On Wednesday night we had a water night. The whole night was held outside and we had three games set up: water balloon launching game, balloon toss, and my personal favorite slip n’ slide kickball! After those three games we had an extremely long slip n’ slide that we let the students, and leaders, go crazy on for the rest of the night. We also had snacks and drinks outside for the students as they were enjoying the slip n’ slide. The whole night went smooth and we had over 100 students here! Then yesterday we took the high schools to Hershey Park. Hershey Park is a big amusement park in Hershey, PA. Yep, where Hershey Chocolate is made! We spent the whole day there and the students, as well as us leaders, had a great time riding coasters and enjoying all the park had to offer. It has been a good week and next week we paintball on Monday night which will be another fun activity. One weekly ministry opportunity I have is teaching the Jr. High Sunday School class. I love the Jr. High students and have enjoyed teaching them and will continue to teach them while I am here this summer. I am extremely encouraged by their excitement to have me teach them, their attentiveness as I teach, and their willingness to speak up and have discussion during the lesson. You can watch my first lesson I taught them a few weeks ago on my YouTube channel here. This Sunday I am teaching a lesson called “Sojourners and Exiles” and will be talking to them about how as believers we are citizens of heaven not the world so our life’s should be different then the people around us who are citizens of this world. Along with the internship experience I have enjoyed getting to know the other pastors here at COD as well as the elders and other leaders in the church. I have been greatly encouraged by the Sunday morning worship services as well as the warm, hospitality of the people here. It has been encouraging to get to know the church, the people and leaders of the church, and to be a part of what God is doing here at COD!

Continue to pray for me as I have six more weeks left in my internship. I would ask you to pray for two things: strength and energy as I stay busy with the student ministry and for my on personal walk with Christ. If there is anything I want to look back on and gain from this internship is that I grew closer to Christ because of my time here. I want to work hard and minister well here, but I want my personal walk with Christ to come first. Me and my mentor Brian Baker talked about that today and I want to learn how to keep Christ first and my walk with Him first even as I minister hard for Him. Hopefully in the next week or two I will have another update. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me and will continue to pray for me.