Hey all, thought I'd write a quick entry to cover what God's been doing lately with the high school ministry at Pomona First Baptist, where I've been serving as a volunteer/intern for the last four years. I don't know how much time I have left with this group, but I'm enjoying what God is allowing me to see and be a part of.
Of the last four years, this is really the most exciting time in our ministry. About 3 or 4 months ago, Brian Holland, the high school pastor, changed the vision/mission statement to "Insideout ministries exists to exalt Jesus as the greatest, one student at a time." Before the mission statement always had to do with creating community of disciples who love Jesus and serve Him, but the focus was on the community. Now we've changed the focus on exalting Jesus, and things are VERY different. We're now calling Wednesday nights "Elevate" as part of changing the vision.
Our time of worship singing has been explosive every single time. Brian's teaching out of this series on the sermon on the mount titled, "No perfect people allowed," and it's some in-your-face stuff. We're challenging students to bring their friends, and they've been doing it! When there have been opportunities for kids to respond to specific things in the message, they've been doing that as well. We've talked about some serious things like the importance of forgiveness, sexual purity, all stuff in the Sermon on the Mount. This last Wednesday, we talked about divorce and the pain that comes from that, and how it is not God's plan for marriages. Our numbers have been up way higher, and this last Wednesday night was an all-time high for us in the last four years, about 120 kids (not that we're about numbers, but usually during this time of year, our numbers are down because of summertime. But, this is clearly a sign that God is doing something incredible). We haven't changed our method, except for the fact that every Sunday and Wednesday, we're inviting students to surrender or recommitt to Jesus. And almost every single time, someone has stood up!
Here's a video of Brian sharing what happened.
Here's a comment from one of our staff who was gone most of the summer serving Jesus directing a camp in Alaska. She hasn't been around to see what God's doing, so her perspective really brings it home.
“This is NOT the same youth group. I left a little over six weeks ago. It was amazing to be in Alaska working with kids, seeing God change lives as we learned about how to have a lifestyle of 24/7 worship. I was able to read about what was happening at Elevate, but being here and experiencing it in person was a thrill. God is doing great things and changing lives! It’s so good to be home.”
Here’s what high schoolers said about ELEVATE last Wendesday night:
“Every was just worshipping like nothing else mattered. And I was able to worship however I wanted without being judged.” - Mitchell
“Sam gave her life to Jesus and so many new people came!” - Tyler
“I could feel God’s presence strongly through both the message and worship.” - Nicole
“Jesus totally rocked my face off last night...! Well yeah!” - Aubree
“Sam was led to Christ!” - Brittany
“It was amazing because we all were focusing on God and not our friends. We all gave 100% last night. And someone gave their life to the Lord!” - Laura
“It’s amazing because we can see our community growing day by day, and we can see how God is moving everywhere through everyone!” - Cheyenne
“I thought it was awesome because you could totally see God working. No one was ashamed to show God their love for Him, and no one cared what the person next to them was doing. Our only reason for being there was to bring God glory, nothing else.” - Elise
“Jesus was so present.” - Hannah
“It was amazing because you could feel GOD there, and seeing the room just filled with people who wanted to exalt His name.” - Tabitha
“The worship was amazing. You could feel everyone seeking God and wanting to give him praise, and the message dealt with a difficult subject in a way that everyone could relate.” - Victoria
“It was amazing because Jesus was there.” - Shawn
“Last night at ELEVATE the Spirit of God was so present! It felt like the place was going to explode during worship! MAN IT WAS SOOO AWESOME!” - Rebecca
“I walk into ELEVATE expecting God, and the best part about it is I know he is going to show up and rock our faces off everytime!” - Kyle
“I was blown away by Sam committing her life to Jesus. Worship was crazy. It was cool!” - Matt
“...everyone was so on fire for Christ and I would sometimes just sit and listen to everyone worship and I was just thinking, “God, how awesome is this. You must be so happy right now!” - Cosmo
“Elevate was amazing last night because it was really obvious that God was there and because it’s so exciting to witness someone surrender to God!” - Megan
“Worship at ELEVATE was amazing! :) Very moving. I could feel the Lord in us all. Great message to everyone.” - Kinsey
“It totally rocked my face off, when we started the second set of songs... I got goosebumps.” - Josh
I get chills just reading those. I feel so blessed to be part of what God is doing. Thanks so much for your prayers for when I'm called to teach or serve in any way. I really wish more of you were nearby to actually see this, cause this is just friggin' awesome! I'm not writing this to boast or anything, please don't misunderstand me. But it's just so exciting, I can't help but share what's happening. Thanks again for your prayers, they are working! I don't know how much longer God will let me stay down here, but I'm enjoying seeing all this happen.