As if last week’s middle school Sunday gathering wasn’t powerful enough, we wrapped up the second part of our series “The Other Story” this past Sunday. I can honestly say I was completely blown away.
Cheryl opened with a beautiful story from Luke, chapter 7. As is His style, Jesus so adeptly points out the dangers and damage that comes from judging people by what we think we know about them, all the while missing out on the heart of his or her story. Our value, our hope and our future is found in the way Jesus see us and redeems us.
In order to best describe the journey for her personally, Cheryl wrote an amazing spoken word piece that kept us all on the edge of our seat and moved us beyond words. Alicia shared the miraculous story of her rescue and recovery from a horrific accident, and how God’s faithful provision and presence in a dark time redeemed her heart and her faith.
Then, students were invited to speak. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – whether anyone would be willing to stand up and do such a scary thing as share their personal story. I definitely wasn’t fully prepared for what happened next.
An avalanche of the Holy Spirit began to flood the room.
Meghan was the first to stand and bravely share how her encounters with Jesus at church camp led her to seek out a church family that “fit” her. After a long and often frustrating search, God brought her to Seneca Creek and she has found a new set of friends and deeper connection to the community of God.
Soon, student after student raised their hands to stand. So many, in fact, that we ran out of time.
Meghan, Andrew, Nicky, Orion and Andre each bravely shared intensely personal stories of their journeys with Jesus, God’s faithfulness in dark and troubling times and the hope that they have for a future walking beside the King of Kings.
It was incredible. Adults, who don’t normally serve in Middle School and who happened to be there on Sunday, have since approached me to share how moving and powerful the morning was for them personally. In fact one person was very clear and said this:
That? That is real church.
I couldn’t agree more. So much so, that, in order to give the other students who didn’t get a chance to speak, we are doing it again. Sunday, November 30th will be Part 3 of The Other Story.
If you are so inclined, feel free to join us. In the meantime, however, I would ask you to pray for our students. Getting up in front of your peers is always scary, but sharing these stories of pain and redemption is not only scary – it’s extremely hard. Pray for their courage and that their relationship with God would be strengthened in the process.
And, in case you are curious, here is a quick view of our brave faces from this past week.