Cornerstone Student Ministries hosts a number of events throughout the year. Preparing and planning these events can take a lot of effort, but in the midst of the phone calls and brainstorming it is often necessary to stop and ask, “Why are we doing all this?” Events should match up with the overall purpose of the church. Specifically, we aim to glorify Christ by leading students to know Jesus, grow into His likeness, and go make Him known to others.
Our two most recent events were a trip to Cedar Point and a youth group meeting at Headwaters Park. Cedar Point represented a “highlight” event of the summer, a time of all-day fun that students can look forward to weeks ahead of time. But a deeper purpose was exercised on that hot July day, namely, that students became more familiar with the leaders and parents who joined them. Relationships grew stronger, and the students found something valuable in being able to interact with adult believers in an environment outside church or the Ministry Center walls.
Hosting youth group at Headwaters Parks rather than the Ministry Center was also special for calling students out of their normal setting for worship, fellowship, and games. We don’t usually keep a strict schedule at our normal Sunday night youth group meetings, but Headwaters gave students freedom to relax a bit from a rigid schedule, play ultimate frisbee and cornhole, and eat grilled hotdogs and hamburgers. This new environment and different Sunday night experience gave them even more focus when it was time for worship and hearing from God’s Word. I spoke on Jesus’ words to some of His first disciples in John chapter 1: “What are you seeking?”
Students had to give an answer—not out loud, but certainly in their hearts. Nature was laid out before them, fun times were had at Cedar Point the week before, and many had shared about those things that gave them a sense of purpose and direction. And with all those thoughts and feelings, God’s Word came to bear on their affections with the pointed question: “What are you seeking?” In that moment, the necessity of Jesus for life, peace, and true happiness was opened up for them in a way that was helped, not hindered, by events and event planning. Exalting Christ—the purpose for Student Ministries events.