Wednesday Nights - Middle School and High School Girls
Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
I and my mom, Liz, have been meeting with nine middle and high school girls since September on Wednesday nights. We eat dinner, talk, laugh, and discuss what it means to follow Jesus. I’m constantly amazed at the questions the girls have, and am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share with them what I have learned. We are currently going through a series called the New City Catechism. It’s a video series from The Gospel Coalition founded by Tim Keller. It has 52 videos that are 2-4 minutes long of various pastors explaining foundational truths of the Christian faith. We’ve been able to use those videos as a jump off point for discussions. Sometimes we end up far away from where we started, but we always have a good conversation full of questions and laughter.
At the end of March, we’ll be going to a youth conference that is put on by Life Promotions, the group that puts on LiFest. I’m excited to see how God works through the conference and our time together to bring even more unity to the group and a deepening of our faith. Please be praying for us, both for Liz and me that we would patience, energy, and grace, and for the girls that they would hear God’s word, grow in faith, and be blessed beyond measure.
I am blessed to be a part of a church family that seeks to reach those who feel like they don’t belong, and I pray that we would continue to grow in being a light to our community.
Jesus is headed toward Jerusalem. In his own words, “I have set my face like flint.” As they were going along the road, someone who wants to follow Jesus is feeling the weight of family and the need to honor his father and give him a proper burial. Nope, says Jesus, “you go now and proclaim the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:59-60).
I know the feeling. This Easter Sunday, I wanted to make it back home for dinner with my family. But I didn’t because my pastoral responsibilities took precedence. Did that bother me? Sure, but again and again I have learned the truth of the promise: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
The time will come for me to be with my family. Over the years Paola and I have missed almost all our children’s soccer games. But the time we have around the table and even better, partnering in ministry with our children, more than makes up for it.
Another would-be follower of Jesus said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” “Family first” was his motto. Jesus did not agree. He said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:61-62).
If you want to harvest, you plough and keep at it. You don’t give up and you don’t look back. That’s what we do at Zion. We keep at it.
An example. We are blessed to have any children under our care, first- or at most second-generation Americans. Children who are like sheep without a shepherd. We are the only church in town intentional in our ministry with these children. And we keep on learning.
We have partnered with His House campus ministry to put on Youth Alive! Mondays four seasons now. This past Monday, we gathered for worship in the sanctuary, not the chapel. It helped a lot. The sanctuary of Zion is a sanctuary. The sounds of the world do not easily enter. It is conducive to silence. That is what we need. Silence, that we may hear that still small voice.
A friend of mine who goes to a megachurch in Oshkosh told me that Easter worship was like a rock concert. It was very loud. He did not say this as a compliment. Better to come into the Lord’s presence and hear the sound of silence. We have this promise: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
Another example. The pastors of Zion have long been in prayer for the men of Oshkosh and the men of our church. That’s why we have a new men’s small group, every other Thursday at 7 pm. More men are choosing to join this group in which the sharing is intense and the commitment to searching the Scriptures and supporting one another is rock solid. Slowly, but surely.
Ministry as Jesus defined it is missional. That means you live with a lot of uncertainty. Like a farmer, you will not know in advance what the years to come will bring. At Zion, we take more risks than you can shake a stick at. It is in that uncertainty that God blesses us.
Pastor John Hobbins
Youth and Family Ministries
400 N Sawyer St, Oshkosh, WI 54902