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CHURCH CORNER:Thanks to all who make Young Life possible

Having spent a few years of my pastoral career as a youth minister, I have a deep appreciation for those who continue to invest in the future of our teenagers – for their spiritual, physical and emotional well-being. I think Young Life provides such a ministry and each year as Young Life designs events to raise some of the necessary funds to minister to our local kids, I try to make sure those annual events are on my personal calendar and in our church calendar as well.

As the annual Palate of the Plateau event happened a little more than a week ago, I want to make mention of four segments that show up each year to make these events a success:  First, the businesses and individuals that contribute products and services, thank you! This event would be a total bore and a failure without your heartfelt contributions. Second, the folks who show up to hear a good report on how the ministry is doing and possibly make financial contributions, thank you! The ministry would come to a screeching halt without our continual support.  Third is that group of kids who have directly benefited from this ministry over the past year or more and are there to give a report and help serve groups one and two, thank you! I’m always touched in my spirit and moved in my emotions as I interact with the kids and hear some of their stories. Good stuff is happening, and that deserves my support.

The forth segment is comprised of the individuals who have made an even bigger contribution in the ministry by being the hands-on ministers.  Yes, I support Young Life because of the kids who are being loved and ministered to, but that authentic ministry only takes place because of the leaders who commit to sharing a piece of their life with these kids on a consistent basis. Yes, it costs some money, but more than that, it costs many hours of life-sharing by these dedicated leaders. While the Young Life organization supplies a solid framework for ministry, the leaders provide the authentic ministry work itself, and our kids are benefited as a result.

I’ve only met people in youth ministry who want to be there. I’ve met a lot of folks who are sure they don’t belong in youth ministry and who don’t want anything to do with teenagers, but I’ve not run across any of these folks who allow themselves to get coerced into working with the kids. That’s a good thing. It’s a shame to waste not only your own life doing something you don’t have a passion or gifting for, but just think of the possible waste of young lives when we make a less-than-passionate investment into their lives. Thanks again to the leaders who share an authentic Christian example with the kids at club.

I do have a bit of a personal stake in Young Life, because we have several folks in our Cedar Church family involved at various levels of ministry there, and we have kids who are part of that group that shows up to find authentic love and acceptance. I’d like to think my support isn’t just self serving, but I have to admit there’s a great deal of personal gratification when I see the kids loved so well and I know some of the folks so well who are loving those kids and are being mindful that the kids are getting good mentoring.

So, here’s to Mike, the area director, and to his leadership team that faithfully works with him; and to the planners and coordinators of the annual events; and to that dedicated gang of leaders who plan and pull off the weekly club events for both the high schoolers and the middle schoolers right here in our White River and Enumclaw school districts; and to the kids who show up to find authentic love and acceptance from these dedicated ministers.

As Mike and the rest of the gang are gearing up for a summer of taking several dozen kids to camp at the Washington Family Camp in Antelope, Ore., and to Malibu Club on the Princess Louisa Inlet in British Columbia, my prayer and support is with them, and the kids they take along.  This great experience doesn’t come for free, and I’m pleased to support them financially as well any other way I can, even if it is only a small part of the whole process. Keep up the good work!

Pastor Dale Pratt can be reached at dale@cedarcommunitychurch.org.

-- by Dale Pratt, Cedar Community Church

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