Do many high schools do a Baccalaureate service any more?Our district doesn't and my high school didn't do one when I was graduating back in the day. Our church, Christ Community Church, offers a more personal alternative, the senior banquet. Emma has been involved in children's and youth ministry since the day she began making too much noise in during church. I'm guessing it was about 2-3 months into her little life that we took her in to Nancy's Nursery at CCV (Deer Valley High School) and the child has never asked to skip a Sunday since.
Emma's years in the youth ministry at CCC have been great for her. Not all kids like youth group but Em found her niche there. Have you been in a high school recently? I don't really care if it's public or private, there are lots of hurting kiddos walking those hallways. Even in the suburbs of our Midwestern city, VERY FEW kids attend church, abstain from illegal substances, try to keep their bodies pure and actually like...well mostly like their family. I'm not saying church kids do all that stuff perfectly but they do at least have a slightly better track record. Remember that thing about, "we are all sinners"? Emma has great friends in school but only ONE close friend shares her faith and comes from a family who shares similar values. I'm so tired of people calling out the youth, saying "kids these days are terrible!" It starts at home people! Kids can be great, they do what has been modeled. (Hey, don't yell at me, I know there are always exceptions and my kids are no where near perfect!! It's called free will...I have it too.)
Back to my original thought, Emma has thrived by surrounding herself with great girls. Youth group has been important because it offered her a support network, lots of fun and freedom to grow in her faith not to mention incredible youth leaders. In 6th grade Emma began attending journey groups and has been fortunate enough to keep several girls from the original group together all these years. From the time Emma was born, one of the many things I have prayed over her (all 3 of our girls actually) was that God would put friends of good character in her life. I knew one day my words would not mean as much to her as those of her friends. That day came and she could talk to people like Amy Nelson or her leaders Pam Grabowski, Ellie and Jocelyn Medrano who would speak truth to her, even when it wasn't popular. Praise God! Don't think one minute that my prayers have stopped. Emma is about to meet a whole new campus of fabulous people and I pray that God will bring devoted followers of Christ into her life in college, work and play.
Thirty-two seniors attended the youth banquet. It was a powerful night of funny stories, empowering messages from leaders and peers and great prayer. I am so grateful for Klint Bitter and Brad Mock for leading the youth of our church closer to Christ. Keep it up guys!
|Emma's Seniors at Church|
Emma, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.