Upside-Down: Teens in Charge

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A service project was turned upside-down this summer when the youths were in charge, issuing instructions to the adults of Lee Street Christian Reformed Church in Wyoming, Mich.

Thirteen teens directed more than 60 volunteers ages 10 to 75 in a weekend service project that gave church members a taste of the knuckle-busting weeklong service trips young people often take.

“I think it showed them how hard it is and how much fun and what a growing experience it can be,” said Michael Berghuis, 16.

Amid light-hearted banter, volunteers cleared trash, trimmed bushes, and did repairs for people in the neighborhood around the church.

 “Teams were divided into Hammers, Screwdrivers, or Saws to illustrate that we are all just tools that God uses to serve for his glory,” said Lee Street member Vince Douma, who originated and organized the project with Rich Steenstra.

The youth-led devotion times proved challenging and rewarding, said Ellyn Hoeksema, 17. “It was definitely a step out of my comfort zone, but it was good for adults to see that young people can have a strong faith and leadership.”

An added bonus was that the project brought together church members who usually do not interact, said Alex Douma, 14. “Some of the people I didn’t know. Now it’s easier to talk with them on Sundays.”

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