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Missional Focus: Children and Youth - September 2022
One of VMC's core values is mission - this purposeful and passionate participation with God's initiative. Our vision is to see more churches on mission and more people following Jesus, pursuing virtue, justice, and the reconciliation of all things. To be a faithful presence of God, our love for and involvement in the world around must somehow mirror Jesus' example. And we want to raise up a generation of young people who also catch this vision and understanding of God as a sending God.

This month is dedicated to our youth and children. Read on for stories about how God is prompting church leaders to reach out and disciple youth. There's a plea for prayer for our children and youth - reminding us that they are people who desire intelligent conversation and a faith that is their own. There's also a couple of resources that might be helpful as you think about your own context. Read on and be encouraged and inspired to carry on with the good work that God has entrusted to you. It is our privilege and, at the same time, our challenge, to preach the Good News of Jesus with our words and our lives, especially to the next generation.

"Mission is not ours; mission is God's.
Certainly, the mission of God is the prior reality
out of which flows any mission that we get involved in.
Or, as has been nicely put,
it is not so much the case that God has a mission for his church in the world
but that God has a church for his mission in the world.
Mission was not made for the church;
the church was made for mission - God's mission."

-Christopher J. H. Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative
A Double Major: Chemistry & Theology?
When Pelham started at Acadia University, he wasn’t sure what to take.
But he was good at chemistry in high school, so chose a major in chemistry.
However, he discovered he enjoyed theology electives through Acadia Divinity College!
What does a chemist do with theology?
Or what does a youth pastor do with chemistry?

At the same, it didn’t make much sense.
However, he felt compelled to pursue both, trusting that God would somehow weave these two very different strands together.

A few years later, working as a youth pastor in Halifax, he wanted to connect with local high school students.
But he needed a connection point.

Balancing equations.
Periodic trends.
Oxidation and reduction.

This was it! 
Becoming a chemistry and math tutor opened up multiple doors to great relationships with students. 
It was a great way to help students because they care about their grades.
Parents appreciated it.
Teachers could see the progress students were making.
When it came time to starting up a Christian group and doing the Alpha program, they knew and trusted Pelham.
Students were willing to come and to talk about things that matter.

God had known all along how chemistry and theology were to fit together!
Hip Hop Concert for Youth

As the end of school rolled around, Don Valley Bible Chapel wanted to care for their youth and celebrate the end of lockdowns and restrictions.

What about a night of loud music?
It was just the thing that about 100 youth - from the church, neighbourhood, and network of friends - were looking for.

Ayomillyy, a Christian hip hop musician, called some of his friends and, for the sake of the youth, 6 local hip hop artists came together for this night of celebration. 
Along with plenty of loud music, 
there was testimonies of meeting Jesus, 
prayer for the youth, 
and their own version of worship songs.

Not only was this night a gift to the youth, 
but it was fruitful collaboration between artists.

God was glorified and lifted high!

(And check out Ayomillyy on IG, Spotify, and Youtube)
Youth with a Mentoring Mission

There’s nothing like the joy of watching kids grow up and start to reach out to those around him with the same truth and love of Jesus that they’ve received.

Ben, a youth pastor in Waterloo, ON, was privileged to witness this with his youth group this past summer.
Kids from the community were coming to programs at the church, looking for a safe place to hang out, somewhere to play sports, and people to talk with.
Some of the older youth group kids saw an opportunity to reach out beyond their safe circle of friends and love the world around them.
So they practiced hospitality in the form of basketball and soccer games.
They were patient and persevering when healthy social engagement skills were lacking.
Some were initiators and others were listeners.

Praise God for prompting and encouraging our youth to cooperate with the work of the Spirit!

Photo credits: Pablo Guerrero @ Unsplash
Pray for our Youth: A Plea from a Youth Pastor
Across the country, our youth are growing up in contentious and uncertain times. Think of all the things in the last few years - Black Lives Matter. Discovery of the unmarked graves of Indigenous children. Covid. The truck convoy. Various sex scandals regarding church leaders. War in the Ukraine. And then you throw in the impact of technology and isolation, on top of the usual angst related to growing up!

These young people need our prayers.

I was talking with a youth pastor who is in the midst of real conversation with her youth. They’re wondering about truth and if it even exists. Some are awake in the middle of the night, wrestling with these big questions.

There’s a deep desire to establish their own faith, rather than it just be a connection through family or geographical location. They want to see adults who can engage in thoughtful, intelligent conversation and have a clear respect for others.

Pray for patience as God makes Himself known and for God’s people along the way to be attentive to the Spirit. Pray that these youth will have eyes that see and ears that hear.
The Bible Project:
A great resource for teaching youth (and adults!). There's short animated videos for each book in the Bible, along with videos that correspond to various biblical themes.

The Bible Project also has an app that helps people read the Bible in a way that is understandable and engaging. In their words, "when we read the Bible the way it was designed we discover a unified story. We're building a reading journey that equips you with the skills to see the larger story of the Bible, every time you read."
"Build your teen’s lifelong faith in Jesus by tackling tough topics together, one conversation at a time."

Another great resource to help facilitate good conversations between youth and church leaders and parents. The Axis team researches current music, movies, TV shows and social media to understand the world in which our youth live. Then they create talking points to help parents and caring adults to understand and disciple their teenagers in a helpful and biblical way.
VMC Storytelling
Every week, we share stories from across our network of churches that show how God is at work in and through His people.

Here are a few recent stories:

Watch for more stories by following us on Facebook, or Instagram or visit vision-ministries.org/stories
New VMC Website!
This is a great time to check out our new, refreshed website at vision-ministries.org.

You'll find all sorts of things - who we are, our vision and values, how we can help you and how you can collaborate with us. There's stories and resources that will encourage and equip you. Also, employment opportunities within our network are listed - and much more.

Take a few minutes and check it out - it's easy to navigate and we trust you'll find it helpful.
Monthly VMC Prayer Meetings - Please join us!
Did you know that a prayer team gathers online monthly to praise God for the work he is doing among VMC churches and leaders and to intercede for the personal and ministry challenges they face. If you have prayer requests, please send them - we would be happy to pray for you!

Would you like to minister to others in prayer?  Send us your name and email and we’ll invite you to join us on Zoom for an hour of prayer, the first Thursday of each month.  Worried you won’t be able to make it every time?  Most of us can’t—just connect those months that you’re available.
To sign up or request further information contact Mike Stone at mike.stone@vision-ministries.org

The VMC prayer team gathers on the first Thursday of the month at the following times across the country:  1:00-2:00pm (Atlantic), Noon-1:00pm (Eastern), 11:00-Noon (Central), 10:00-11:00am (Mountain) and 9:00-10:00am (Pacific).

Cultivating Sanctuary:
A conversation on preventing and responding to sexual misconduct by church leaders
With New Leaf Network & Mennonite Central Committee

Thursdays: September 8, 15, 22, 29 and October 6, 2022
1:30-3pm ET or 7:30-9pm ET
Here’s a description of the workshops - a timely and needed conversation!

“Disclosures of sexual misconduct and sexual abuse by church leaders, particularly in evangelical circles, are rising. Each new report makes it devastatingly clear that we, the body of Christ, have a problem we must confront and resolve in order to better protect members and respond well to sexual misconduct. When sexual misconduct by a church leader occurs, many ministry leaders and volunteer boards discover, too late, that they have not been adequately equipped to prevent or navigate through the complexities. 

We invite you to join us this September, for a 5-part New Leaf Learning Centre series in partnership with the Mennonite Central Committee. Guided by the expertise of the MCC presenters, together we will learn what the Church can do to help prevent church leader sexual abuse and cultivate sanctuary for church members.
This practical equipping Learning Centre series is specifically designed for pastors, staff teams, church board members, ministry leaders and lay leaders."

These sessions will offer:
  • definitions for what constitutes church leader sexual misconduct including why and how it occurs. 
  • best practices in developing policies for abuse prevention, and disclosure response. 
  • conversation around the complex topics of responding to situations of harm, power and healthy boundaries, church culture, and healthy masculinity. 
  • opportunities for facilitated conversations with other like-minded Jesus followers who desire to learn about this important topic 
  • Q&A with our expert presenters

Click the link below for the full poster:

WayBase is a digital platform that helps churches and people connect and work together for good. It has two components: a website and a mobile app. The WayBase website helps Christian leaders connect and work together to serve the greatest needs in their area. Engage is a new discipleship app that helps church communities connect in meaningful ways and engage spiritual life in a new way.

All VMC churches have access to a pre-paid subscription, along with training, resources, and workshops from the Waybase team. Sign up today at www.waybase.com/vmc