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Equipping the Saints

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For the past few years, our youth group theme has been, "equip the saints." This is taken from Ephesians 4:12, which says, "And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ." Everything we do in youth ministry has the aim of equipping our students to know what the bible says and how to live according to it. We do this through events, teaching, and intentional discipleship.

Each of our events (whether it's a regular Sunday night or a special event) gives a space for students to get to know each other, have fun, and learn about God. Holding specific events gives students the opportunity to make God and his church a part of their busy schedules and we want to make each moment count. So, whether we are playing a game or having discussion groups, it is all building towards students building their relationship with God and being equipped for ministry.

Most of our youth nights have a time of teaching and discussion, but we also make this a major part of our retreats throughout the year. To equip anyone for ministry, there must be dedicated times where they are under the ministry of the word of God. We make this a priority because we believe that we need to be students of the bible to effectively share our faith and grow in holiness.

Events and teaching are incredible ways to grow and be equipped, but we also need people in our lives to encourage us and guide us. This is why our youth leadership team is focussed on being intentional in the discipleship of our students. It begins at our youth events but it continues as leaders talk and go out with students throughout the week. We want our leaders to not just be a part of student's lives on Sunday night, but all throughout the week. It has been encouraging to see our leaders make this a priority as they text students, read the bible with them, and take an interest in their hobbies, like sports or theatre.

We want to see every student that comes to our program, come to a point where they know God, want to serve him, and are equipped to do so.

If you want to know more about our youth programs, click here, or email Kyle McDonald, our Director of Youth and Young

Posted by Kyle McDonald

Operation Christmas Child

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Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan's Purse that aims to spread the love and gospel of Christ through the simple act of giving Christmas gifts every year to children living in poverty, in over 100 different countries. This ministry began in 1990 when two people, Dave and Jill Cooke, were inspired to spread joy and love during Christmas after seeing a report on orphans in Romania.

Today, thousands of churches and individuals fill shoeboxes with toys, hygiene items, school supplies, and more to be delivered to children all over the world for Christmas. It is a simple way to help those in need around the world and also to spread the joy and message of Christ during the Christmas season. Since 1990, shoebox gifts have been delivered to more than 157 million children, in over 130 countries. In 2018 alone, Canadians donated 517,437 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

This initiative doesn't end with the shoeboxes. After the boxes have been delivered, the OCC staff begins a 12 session bible study called, The Greatest Journey, to teach children and families all about who God is and what He has done for them. Through this teaching, millions of children are coming to know Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and it all begins with a simple shoebox.

This fall, SDBC will become a collection centre for these shoeboxes for the South Delta region. Starting this Sunday, shoeboxes will be available to be taken home to be filled in preparation for National Collection Week on November 18th-24th.

We encourage you to take a shoebox this coming Sunday from the Spotlight Table and commit to filling it with toys, hygiene items, school supplies, or anything else to help those in need and bring them joy this Christmas. We would also encourage you to do this as a family or a community group. Boxes will also be available in the front office for pick-up, during office hours (Monday to Thursday, 9AM-4PM).

If you have any questions about Operation Christmas Child, visit the Spotlight Table on Sunday to talk to a member of the team that will be heading up this initiative. You can also email Britni McDonald, who is the Local Logistics Coordinator for South Delta. 

For more information, click here.

Posted by Kyle McDonald

Serving and Sharing on Salt Spring Island

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This year will be our 22nd year of sending a group of youth and leaders over to Salt Spring Island for a week to help residents with work around their homes. This trip is a highlight of the year for many of the students in our youth group. During the final months leading up to the trip a week does not go by without someone talking about how excited they are for Salt Spring. Many memories are made while on work projects and during the activities of the week. It has been a life changing week for so many students throughout the past 21 years.

Work projects are at the forefront of this trip, and the purpose of these projects is to serve the mission of the trip. The mission of the Salt Spring trip every year is ​to see students connect, learn, and grow as disciples of Jesus. The work projects help so many people on the island but the reason this trip happens each year is to see this mission happen.

Having this mission at the centre of the trip is what makes it so special. Work projects are a very practical way that we can love like Jesus. It shows us the importance of serving others and caring for their needs. It pushes students to see that part of being a disciple is serving. Jesus said, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all" (Mark 9:35b). How do we become a servant of all? We recognize the needs of those around us and aim to help them with those needs. For example, many on the island rely on firewood for heating their homes throughout the winter. So, we will spend hours upon hours during the week chopping and stacking wood. Others need help around their garden because they are unable to keep the weeds under control anymore. So we will spend hours pulling out weeds. We want to be servants.

But, there is something much greater that happens amidst these projects. At the beginning of the trip each year, we start with something we call the "equip session." A large portion of this involves practicing our testimonies and sharing the gospel with others so that we are prepared to share with the residents of the island. It is not uncommon to end up in a conversation about the gospel with residents throughout the week. Homeowners will ask students and leaders why they come to the island each year and this opens up an opportunity to share the gospel with them.

Growing as a disciple means we serve, but it ultimately means we also share the gospel. This is our duty as believers, to "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). The work projects are an avenue in which we are able to glorify God on Salt Spring Island through word and deed. Please be in prayer for our team as we head over to the Island from June 29th-July 6th. Pray for God to work in the lives of the students and for opportunities to share the gospel with the people of Salt Spring Island.

Posted by Kyle McDonald