January 31, 2012

Good-Bye Quest Youth

As I sit down to write this I have roughly 5 hours left as your youth pastor. By the time I post it, be that tonight or tomorrow that time will have come to a conclusion. I have wrestled with what I wanted to do and say for the past three months. It is not easy to say goodbye and I have been saying goodbye a lot lately.

Tonight I will/I did offer you the last devotion that I will have a chance to. I want to reiterate some of that here.

"Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

If you ever feel like you are getting conflicting messages from today's culture about youth, you are 100% right. The strange set of expectations that are being placed on you are difficult to navigate. Some expect you to fix all of the worlds problems, some expect you to be lazy and entitled. Some expect you to take us to the stars, some expect you to ruin western society. The more I read about your generation the more I think sociologists and such are all going crazy. The mixture of greatness and disaster is just to much to believe.

Never the less people are watching you with great interest.

The bible doesn't talk about what actions you will take. It is not interested in economic development, or space travel or competition with other countries. It is interested in the kind of person you will be, not the things you do.

There is no question that there are things in our society that have to change, and will likely fall to you to change them. But they will not be changed simply by shifting structures they will change as people change. You can lead by example. You can show all of us what people ought to be like. That is what Paul is talking about here. He is telling Timothy that for him to lead people  he needs to do so by being an example of speech, of behaviour, of love, of faith and of purity. We talked about these things, I know with Jesus as your helper you can do it. You have already done so well. Keep it up!

Five years later this logo still looks like a person's face
getting stomped on to me. And yet I love it!

Finally it is time for me to get to my real reason for writing this. I don't want to simply write down a brief sum up of the devotion I gave tonight. I want to say good bye to each of you. So here we go, my long list of personal goodbyes (I am sorry if I spell your name wrong);

April- You have been such a joy. Your unique style and dedication to serving children in low income communities is inspiring.

Abby- Your sharp wit is one of the best things about you. Thank you for inviting your friends to Quest over the years. It has been great to see you help draw people to Christ.

Alex- The two years you have been coming to Quest have been great. You have such a great disposition and it has been great to see you explore what faith might look like for you.

Adele- I love your laugh! You are the person I think about when people talk about being joyful. Keep smiling, keep giggling.

Autumn- It was so great having you come to Tidal Impact with us. You are such a delight and joy to be around. You serve gracefully even when exhausted. A skill I have yet to master.

Ben A- You have such a great and sharp mind. Talking with you is like talking with a person in their 20's. Your knowledge and ability to gain knowledge is a great asset to the church.

Ben T- You have such a gentle wisdom about you. Don't let Jr. High take that away from you. The world needs more people with these qualities.

Brittney- I am so glad Abby introduced you to us. Your quiet presence is such a joy to be around.

Daria- You ask great questions, and think about your faith in very sincere ways. I hope you get to meet the Christofer Drew you like the most soon.

Emma- The youth group wouldn't be the same without you. You are our photographer, and our most sarcastic member (except for me of course). It has been such a blessing watching your grow from a grade 7 who I think was forced to hang out with us to a grade 10 young leader. Keep on growing!

Evan- You are a natural leader. But underneath all of that tough, funny. macho guy exterior you show us, is a person who is so great with young kids. Since the summer of 2010 you have been uncle Evan to me. Lead as Uncle Evan and you will never go wrong.

Ed- You are searching, and you ask great questions. Keep coming, keep asking.

Emily- You are the newest member of our little group. Thank you for jumping both feet in and hanging out with us all weekend. Your desire to fellowship with other Christians is great. I am sorry we won't get a chance to get to know each other better.

Garette- It has been great getting to know you. You give it your all at youth group. If you tackle your faith like that as well I know you will do well.

Heather- You are so passionate about your new faith. It has been exciting to watch you fall in love with Jesus. Hold on to that, don't let everything else you do, or anyone else take that away from you.

Helen- We have missed you this year. But I am glad you are working with kids and trying to get set for university. Those are both noble goals. Just don't let your search for faith end.

Isabel- Your constant desire to go deeper in your faith is inspiring. You could teach many adults about quiet time, and being committed to Christ. Keep it up.

Jessie- You have such a great spirit about you. You are tough yet lovable. I have been blessed to share my faith with you as you seek out your own beliefs.

John- It sounds strange to say it but your remind me of me. Not everyone gets the benefits of  hanging out with girls and being the quiet video game type. But we know. Thank you for participating in the guy's bible lessons I hope they have given you things to think about.

Jono- Your passion for snowboarding is second to none. I know this winter has been hard on you. I am glad that you are showing a spiritual passion that is almost on par with snowboarding.

Kris- There are so few great Christian artists out there. You have the ability to be one. Keep that love of film and love for God going strong.

Leah- You are a great navigator and so easy to talk with. It has been great to see you grow in faith and in leadership. Keep it up.

Loraine- I know we don't get to see you much, which is a shame. But keep dancing, David danced for God and I hope you will too.

Megan W- We have missed seeing you. Your smile can light up a room, and your joy is wonderful to be around. I am glad you are serving your church with your God given musical talents.

Peter- You have such a strong commitment to Christ and to sport. Keep them both, but let your relationship to Christ define you, not the sports you play.

Savannah- Your grin displays your graciousness, and your words display your wisdom and knowledge. Keep on growing, you are doing so great.

Rachel- Thank you for all you have done. It is thanks to your early efforts to invite people that we have the youth group we have. You once told me you were thinking about becoming a youth pastor. I hope that it still true, you would be great. Next year when you are in grade 12 there is an event you can go to called potential impact, it is for people who are thinking about a life in ministry. Nolan, or whoever the new youth pastor is can sign you up if you want to go. You should go.

Teresa- You are the quietest member of your trio, but no less joyful. I am glad you have made Quest a place to come to search out your faith.

Tina- Your energy seems almost boundless, as does your wit. It has been great serving alongside you and watching your faith take shape and grow. Thank you for being one of the church's best greeters, and for bringing friends to church.

Victo- You ask great questions and are a lot of fun to be around. Keep asking, keep searching.

I could go on forever. And some of you no doubt think that I do. Let me say it has been a joy to be your youth pastor, your teacher and your friend. I will miss each of you for so many different reasons. Enjoy your spiritual quest as you get to know Jesus Christ.