Connecting with Families on the Eastside
This year at Veritas East it has been an adventure in the Kid’s and Youth Ministries. We’ve met hundreds of kids (literally hundreds), begun a youth group, seen unlikely friendships form and flourish, and seen our kids and their families come through tragic losses and unforeseen challenges with rock solid faith in Christ. All of this is thanks to our great God. He is the Author, Perfector, and Sustainer of our faith and joy. By His power we are not robbed of joy. We can take no credit for what is being done here at East. Sometimes we feel like we are holding on for dear life, but at the end of the day we can say that we are truly blown away by the grace and mercy being displayed by our Lord towards this people.
The Summer Lunch Program, Summer Movie Nights, the Block Party in July, and Trunk or Treat in October were our way of creating safe spaces to start (and continue) relationships with our community. To give you an idea of what we’ve witnessed, roughly 270 kids (not including teens and adults) came to our Trunk or Treat in October, many of whom we recognized from the other events and programs we hosted. To be able to see faces and connect with these families two and three times in five months was an incredible privilege and an answered prayer. As time passes, we have seen these connections grow and grow. Although this has not led to increased numbers at church, it is evident that these efforts have begun to forge a bond with the people. People have told us that the things we are doing make it feel like the neighborhood can come together, that it can be good. Some of these discussions have actually led to friendship. It’s quite remarkable! This glimpse of hope is a refreshing encouragement for us as we seek to know God and tell others about Him.
As a leader in this ministry, I am also amazed at the grace that comes through our volunteers. Many of the Kid’s volunteers at East have worked multiple back-to-back weeks or stuck faithfully with their schedule for serving without compromise. They have shown admirable commitment to these kids. And that is what is amazing: the commitment to young people. I feel like we have the best volunteers in the world because they don’t do it to be recognized or to be seen as great, but instead they do it because they have built genuine connections with the children and families. This goes way beyond babysitting. This is discipleship. As the vision is developed for Kid’s Ministry and we seek to apply practices to the vision, having committed people like this is a vital ingredient to the life of the church and the movement of the Gospel into the community.
The evidence is everywhere. There are more stories I could share. Truthfully, the Lord is gracious towards us everyday in ways we don’t always recognize. God has been faithful to us and He has continually led us back to Him. The point is Him. It’s about His glory, His strength, and His vision. God’s grace is living and active and we eagerly await to see what unfolds from here.
In this audio clip, Aaron Lockhart shares how God blessed Veritas East with deeper relationships in the community.