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Ontario Churches Meet to Strengthen Youth Ministry


About 70 people involved with children’s and youth ministry met at Drayton (Ont.) Christian Reformed Church on November 18 for a day of fellowship and equipping. The event, organized by the Classis Huron Youth Ministry Team (CHYM), brought ministry staff and volunteers from around the regional group of churches to learn about leadership, teamwork, and today’s youth culture.

Youth leadership advocate Brett Andrews spoke about building a leadership team with relational, humble team players who are eager to work on the next project. Paul Robertson, an expert in youth culture, discussed what teens face in today’s world—especially focusing on the impact of cell phones and the 24/7 connectedness offered by the Internet.

“Things change so fast today,” said Jake Snieder, a pastor at Drayton CRC and part of CHYM. “Even when you get to be 26, 27, 28 years old, you think, ‘I was just a teenager!’ But even at that age, being a teenager today is so different. Whether we’re 25 or 45 in youth ministry, we’re really trying to engage a culture that is living in a world that is so different from what we grew up in.”

The event, the first of its kind for Classis Huron, came about as a way to fill in the gap left by a hiatus of the annual Day of Encouragement, usually hosted each fall by Diaconal Ministries Canada in Ancaster, Ont. CHYM used its training budget to offer the day free to participants, who included youth pastors, GEMS and Cadets counselors, elders, deacons, and others representing 12 churches. Soul Purpose, a worship band composed of musicians from various churches in Classis Huron, led a time of worship and praise.

“I think the day was received very well by people who were here,” said Snieder. “The speakers were speaking about things that were relevant, on the minds of a lot of youth ministry people.”

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