This past weekend, I had the honor of being the featured preacher for the 2020 Winter Youth Summit, in Huntsville, Alabama. Over the course of the weekend, I preached four sermons to nearly 600 students about what it means to connect with Christ and one another. It was an amazing experience to say the least.
On Sunday morning, I could not be with our Deacons for our regularly scheduled meeting, so I sent a message to Mike Ernst, Deacon Chair, and asked him to share my reflections with the Deacons. Some have encouraged me to share this message with you.
Good morning, friends.
As you meet this morning, we are preparing for our final worship experience in Huntsville, at the 2020 Winter Youth Summit. Our own JCBC Youth were in attendance, along with nearly 600 other students from CBF churches across five different states.
Watching our students has been an incredible experience. I wish you could have been standing where I was standing tonight, watching our students pressed in shoulder to shoulder, in a crowded “mosh pit” during worship. I was zeroed in on the JCBC students singing to the top of their voices, hands raised in the air, and tears streaming down their faces. It was the purest and most sincere worship I have ever seen.
These students are carrying burdens you would not believe. They are managing anxieties, facing pressures, and tending to wounds many people never had to deal with at their age. Plain and simple: This weekend, our students met with Jesus. Period. Many of them laid down burdens, walked away from toxic relationships, and came alive in Christ!
Late at night, each church gathers to debrief the day. Last night, Annie (who, by the way is an absolute rock-star to these kids) had the students go around the room and say what the most meaningful moment of the day was, and to name one thing they learned. I am not exaggerating when I say I had to fight back tears listening to them. These students are alive in Christ. The depth of their comments, and the insight they shared, simply floored me.
What you may or may not know is that we had a recent disappointment in our search for a new youth pastor. We had been in a conversation for several months with one individual who we were convinced was our person. We had hoped an announcement was in our very near future. That is how close we were. But a little more than one week ago, this person backed out—all for very good and noble reasons. Many of us were disappointed, to say the least. Your pastor, most of all!
Yet this weekend, God showed me something I did not expect to see. God is alive and moving in the lives of our students! No joke. There is real transformation underway! When I shared that observation with the group late last night, there was literally a loud and confident “Amen” from the students themselves. I got chills.
I share that with you this morning, because my heart is overflowing with love for them, and for the Christ I see IN them. I’m asking you to pray for us this morning. I have one more message for these amazing students, who (for some odd reason) continue to listen to what I have to say!
I am praying for you today, and for what God will be up to back home.
Now that all of our students have returned home, and resumed their normal rhythms, I ask that you pray for them daily. Many made commitments at the retreat that will be challenging to keep, now that they are back. They will need our support. Our students are blessed with volunteer leaders who love them and invest in their spiritual journeys. If you have a heart for students, and would like to be a part of what God is doing in their lives, I want you to email us today at YOUTHMINISTRY@JCBC.ORG.
Have I told you lately how much I love being your pastor?
Well, I do.
Dr. Shaun King
Johns Creek Baptist Church
Being a teacher, helping students was part of my life for years. I love them. The problems are much more complicated and toxic now. I was blessed with access and good health and could help, which is not possible now. I want them to know I am praying for them. They are very brave!