This week our high school choir, The Experience, is on tour going across West Virginia and Ohio. While it is indeed a choir tour, it would be a disservice to the mission of the group, to “Tell The Story,” and simply leave it at that. The story of we share is the story of God’s unrelenting love for us. Much of the music we sing on this tour speaks of this unconditional love and that even when we screw up or focus on things that take us away from Christ, His love for us is fierce. That in our brokenness, God is present and making something beautiful out of our lives. Not only is he with us, but so are our friends. We know that through our lives, God is making an impact on our peers and those around us. At night, our students stay in host homes. One of the unsung benefits that host homes provide is an opportunity to share their story with strangers. These students have stories to tell and this blog is their story.
“when I was growing up, I didn’t really understand much about the church. I mean, it was like okay, well yay God and stuff but I didn’t really enjoy getting up each Sunday to get on “nice” clothes and go to church for, well, almost all day. But as I began growing up, I put myself out there more in the church, just because I like doing that, but as I learned more about my faith, I realized that God was really calling me to do these things, and through these small involvements here and there, I really became closer to God and the people around me. By the time I got confirmed, I really enjoyed going to church, so much so that my parents had to ask me to stay home after a late night. When I joined The Experience, it was a huge thing that allowed me to come closer to God, and I try to attend almost every youth event so that I can grow closer to my brothers and sisters in Christ, and well as to come closer in my faith in God.”
“I grew up at Christ Lutheran and my family has always been involved in the church. However, through middle school I was just going through the motions of going to Sunday school. I didn’t have a solid foundation for my faith, and without a strong foundation, I struggled to build and strengthen my relationship with God. It was through Christ Lutheran that I became involved in the TEC (Teens Encounter Christ) youth program/ TEC retreats and found my solid foundation. This encouraged me to get more involved in The Experience and Sunday school because I wanted to keep growing my faith and building my relationships with the friends I had made. One of my favorite parts about Christ Lutheran is it is a space where I can build relationships with other kids who also want to be close to God and involved in the church. My high school experience would have been incredibly different without the church in my life and without the friends I have made, and I am so blessed and thankful to have grown up at Christ Lutheran Church.”
“I have always been involved in church. Being raised in the faith and supported by my parents has fostered a strong foundation for the rest of my life. Growing up this way has resulted in me lacking a sort of dazzling coming to faith story that a lot of my peers have experienced. For years I thought this meant my faith was in some way less special or important than theirs. Things like The Experience and Teens Encounter Christ have helped open my eyes to the fact that my faith story isn’t less special than theirs, just different. God has been able to use my strong foundation to help others experience those coming to faith stories, and realizing that this is a way God has used me as a disciple makes me eager to learn what he has in plan for me in the future, working as his hands and feet in a broken world.”
“My faith story…… God has brought me through so much as a teenager that there is no way anyone can convince me there is no God. I was so angry when the Lord took my Grandmother. She was my rock and my confidant. When I was down and had no one else to turn to, she was there. After a while I realized that He wanted to be that for me. He had to show me that He would always be that for me even when people didn’t care. God also showed me that he will put people directly in your life to remind you of your purpose. No matter who I thought my friends were, he showed me who my true friends were and I thank him everyday for that because without that support system I wouldn’t be where I am today. His love is truly fierce and that is why I love telling his story to others so they can experience the change in their lives as I have mine.”
Brothers and sisters in Christ, these are the stories of your high schoolers. Believe me, they have a lot to say! We look forward to sharing our story with you this Sunday as for our homemcoming show. These students are defying the odds and bearing with one another in Christ (Ephesians 4:2). After the show, I invite you to come forward to ask the students about their trip. They have been telling the story across the country and they look forward to sharing their story with you.
See you Sunday!
High School Youth Director