Rachel will complete her studies in Theology at Morling College at the end of 2018. She has been with us since 2017, and has over 15 years of experience in youth and children’s ministry. She has been married to Max since 2017.
History of Auburn Youth Group
Auburn Youth Group was formed as a ministry partnership between Auburn Baptist Church (ABC) and Western District Chinese Christian Church (WDCCC) in 2009 after each church recognised the need for a new approach to caring their youth. WDCCC had split from its home church (West Sydney Chinese Christian Church) and moved to share the premises with ABC in the early 2000s.
Negotiations took place throughout 2008 between Pastor Malcolm Armstrong (Auburn Baptist Church) and Pastor Pius Li (Western District Chinese Christian Church) and the deacons of Lidcombe-Berala Baptist Church (LBBC). A number of applications for the paid position of Youth Leader was reviewed by ABC & WDCCC however the final candidate was found in-house with Sam (ABC) appointed in 2009.
On the WDCCC side, Sam’s employment as Youth Pastor resulted in the departure of Michael Lai whom had been involved with the youth with Pastor Pius Li during the time of the 2008 negotiations. LBBC had withdrawn the ministry partnership negotiations but however would remain close friends with the youth group with joint youth camps and fortnightly combined church services for youth in 2011.
ABC met on Sundays at 10am however the youth ministry had been defunct for a number of years. WDCCC met on Sundays at 2pm with an active children and youth ministry held concurrently. True unity of Auburn Youth Group did not occur until 2010 with WDCCC moving their Sunday Service to 10am in order for both children and youth ministries to cater for ABC and WDCCC children/youth at the same time.
The first Auburn Youth camp titled “Summer Lovin” was held in January 2010 at Elanora Heights Conference Centre. Auburn Baptist Church invited Pastor Hillary Williams (Petersham Assembly of God) to speak at the camp. The youth group primarily met on Sundays until 2012 with an informal Friday night gathering taking place fortnightly in the church hall. Several mini-food drives were held at Mona Park near Duck River in 2012.
The 2013 Youth Camp in January marked the last of Sam’s official involvement as youth leader. Roydon Ng at that time having just graduated high school stepped up to fill the sudden void in leadership in the youth group. The youth group’s first sleepover was held in the hall in 2013.
A suggestion was made to change the name of the group from ‘Auburn Youth’ to ‘Heroes for Christ’ to reflect the ‘BE SUPER‘ youth group goals. Towards the later half of 2013, Auburn Youth formalised its 5 operating streams: establishment of a weekly “Friday Youth”, a weekly small groups called “Bible Buddies”, a new “Church-Link” initiative to re-connect with LBBC and for involvement with the RICE Movement, development of community outreach/mission awareness and maintaining the “Sunday Youth” group.
The 2014 Youth Camp was organised by WDCCC at Yarramundi. The theme of the camp was the God’s Big Picture. From 2014 onward, attendance spread out between the various youth ministry streams would steadily climb to a record breaking 20 youth to 1 leader ratio by 2016 with over half being Sunday Youth regulars. 2015 would be a big year for Auburn Youth attending KYCK (youth camp) in the Blue Mountains as well as hosting the RICE Movement’s West Regionals event in Auburn.
Auburn Youth (ABC & WDCCC) partnered with Pastor Mitch Levingston (Lidcombe-Berala Baptist Church) in April 2016, holding a Youth & Young Adults Camp at Wanawong, Loftus. The camp included Bible talks about “Back to Basics” and a beach trip to Austimmer on the South Coast. Roydon stepped down from the voluntary role of youth leader in 2016 citing fatigue and the need of a sabbatical. A Youth Pastoral Search Committee led by Pastor Phil Grebert succeeded in appointing Rachel Stuhr as new Youth Pastor starting in early 2017.
A highlights video from Auburn Youth Group 2009-2014 is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ol3f5Wy44sw
More photos and videos from Auburn Youth can be viewed on our social media channels.