As Youth Pastor Rachel mentioned in the recent Auburn Baptist Church members meeting (22 October 2017), I will be finishing up as youth leader at the end of this year.
I have a few words to say about this.
As Auburn Youth Group moves into the 3rd chapter of this joint ministry of Auburn Baptist Church and Western District Chinese Christian Church, I give thanks to God for how Christ has been working in this church and that there are youth that are willing to be gathered here.
I would like to acknowledge Sam as the youth worker from 2009-2012. Given the circumstances of the day, there wasn’t an opportunity to recognise the significant impact that Sam had towards the youth of then and the youth ministry today.
I would like to thank the church for allowing me to step up in 2013 during this low point in the ministry to lead the youth group. The past 5 years have by far been some of the most challenging but also a time where I have learnt the most towards growing my relationship with Christ.
To the youth, thank you for journeying with me over the past few years – the changes we all experienced haven’t been easy but I really appreciate your willingness to have been part of the various styles of youth group throughout this time.
To Pastor Phil, thank you for being supportive and giving me a chance to have lead the youth as an untested 19-year-old straight out of high school with no formal Bible training beyond what I learnt from Prefects and Discipleship Training at Regents Park Christian School.
Congratulations to the HSC students who have just finished their exams. As you consider what you want to do next year, no matter what university degree you study or job you do – the coming years of your life as young adults is one of the best opportunities to learn about God and to grow or start your relationship with Him.
Most of you probably don’t realise this, but my ATAR which led me to take up a Bachelor of Arts is one of the reasons that Auburn Youth Group exists today. Getting into a Bachelor of Arts doesn’t require particularly high HSC results and the degree itself has minimal class hours compared to degrees such as law, engineering or medicine.
The way I structured my class timetable gave me ample time to be involved with Campus Bible Study (run by the Anglican chaplaincy) and to find the time to be doing youth group across several days each week. I was challenged and encouraged by their weekly Bible talks, equipped through their Core Training program and Mid-Year Conferences as well as given the opportunity to practice walk-up evangelism on campus.
The training I received from Campus Bible Study has been significantly impactful towards my Christian faith and has served as a major basis for which I developed teaching plans for the youth group over the past few years. The teaching I received allowed me to at least give a half decent response to the tough questions that the youth had about the Bible instead of just telling them to Google it on the internet.
I am so grateful that I had the connections that told allowed me to get connected into Campus Bible Study after high school. (I actually signed up to the Campus Bible Study Welcome Day from seeing a girl that I knew from school click Attending on a Facebook event). For those of you going into university next year without knowing many Christians, I have something that can help.
Each Monday starting 13th November and going until late February next year is CONNECT. CONNECT is an amazing opportunity to engage in the Bible and Christianity, as well as get to know people who are in the same boat as you are, bonding and enjoying your time #FreshOutOfHSC! From challenging bible talks to top quality banter, CONNECT is where you need to be! And if you’re not a Christian, that’s okay, you definitely can come along too! So, CONNECT is about Connecting YOU with JESUS, Connecting YOU with PEOPLE that are going to the same uni as you and Connecting YOU with UNIVERSITY CHRISTIAN CAMPUS GROUPS. CONNECT is held in 2 locations across Sydney, I’d love to chat with you about CONNECT.
I know I’ve said a lot already but also as the youth group completes this unprecedented handover between youth leaders this year, I would to ask that everyone gives Pastor Rachel the respect and support that she deserves especially in leading the work with the youth.
I make 2 additional points when I stress that she is leading the youth work. First, Rachel shouldn’t be expected to do everything by herself. Building up the next generation in Godliness is a team effort involving everyone. Second, although I will continue to be caring of the youth, I am burnt out and in need of a sabbatical. From next year, any matters about youth group should be directed to Rachel and Rachel alone.
Rachel didn’t ask or force me to leave, I told her I was finishing up this year in June. So, I could’ve stayed on but now as we have a new youth pastor, I know that it is best for the future of Auburn Youth that Rachel is able to do the youth work without potentially being in the shadow of a previous youth leader. I don’t want there to be even the slightest impression that I am hindering or undermining her once I’ve finished as youth leader.
Thank you everyone for your prayers and support over these years. Please keep the youth and young adults in mind as we near the end of a big year and look ahead to even more exciting things happening.