Unstoppable is the word that comes to mind when you look at the early days of the church. Conflict and controversy threatened to take down the young group but, instead of destroying it, the challenges fueled the fire that spread across the first-century landscape.
And now, in these challenging times, we are reminded of our mission through the following stories from Lake Union department leaders what being the Church is really about — God’s people doing God’s work together by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Who knew that February 14‒17, 2020, when hundreds of Lake Union senior youth and young adults gathered in Shipshewana, Indiana, for the bi-annual Lake Union Youth Evangelism Congress (www.lucyouth.org) to study about various ways to use the internet to share the gospel, that in less than 30 days the world would be shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Who knew? God knew!
God is always in control, even when everything around us seems to be out of control.
If we keep our lives mission-focused on Jesus, we will be “Mission Unstoppable.”
Historically, over the years when the Lake Union Youth ministry leadership has had to face challenges, they know how to take a deep, Midwest breath, pray earnestly for more Holy Spirit wisdom and find new ways to adapt, so as to meet a mission challenge.
Here are just a few examples of how your Lake Union Youth ministry has not just survived but thrived during this pandemic.
1. COVID-19 hit hard local church club ministries but, with God’s help, we found new ways to stay mission-focused and unstoppable.
Did you know that under the inspired leadership of Lake Region Conference, Youth ministry leadership with 101 percent support from the Lake Union, moved Adventurer awards, Pathfinder honors and Master Guide training online in April 2020?
In just a few weeks, over 25,000 different people from all over the world have been taught more than 75 different honors. All I can say is, “Mission unstoppable!” For more information, go to www.luclubministriesacademy.org.
2. Did COVID-19 kill summer 2020 VBS at the local church? The answer is “No!” Lake Union Children/Youth ministries leadership worked with our NAD Children’s ministry leadership to find a new way forward. Praise God a free online Bible-themed VBS was offered to our Union’s local churches this summer. “Mission Unstoppable!” For more information, go to www.adventistvbx.org.
3. COVID-19 tried to take out our Union’s 2020 summer youth evangelism (some call it summer camp) master plan where hundreds, if not thousands of youth and adults rededicate their lives to Jesus and/or seek to be baptized. There was talk about closing our 2020 summer camps but, praise God, the Holy Spirit gave us new ways to adapt our summer evangelism plans. “Mission Unstoppable!” For more information, see pp.xx in this issue of the magazine.
4. COVID-19 did cancel this summer’s 2020 General Conference Session set to take place in our Union. However, the Holy Spirit led our union to make plans last year to run a year-long young adult urban and Public Campus Ministry (PCM) program, so we still have an active One Year in Mission (OYiM) young adult evangelism plan in place. Since this group could not do door-to-door literature sales, their budget is about $50,000 short. But, under Israel Ramos’ leadership, everyone agreed not to quit. “Mission Unstoppable!” For more information, visit www.campushope.com/oyim/.
If you want more information about our Union’s Children, Youth and Young Adults programs, please contact me at Ron.Whitehead@lakeunion.org, or call my cell phone number, 269-208-1344.
Ron Whitehead, Youth director, Lake Union Conference