May 11, 2021
Pastor Walt Baertsch
Our vital sign for this Oak Leaf is “Rooted in Scripture” and I wanted to take some time to explain how East White Oak’s youth ministries have been, and continue to be just that.
As I tell students frequently, the whole reason that we do what we do is because of God and His Word. Each thing that we do is based on either drawing people to knowing God and his word or studying and experiencing God’s word. If it weren’t for God’s word, we would not exist as a ministry or as a church.
Our weekly programming exemplifies this commitment through some pretty obvious elements, such as Youth Bible Fellowships where we teach God’s word through straight forward Bible studies, or in our Junior High ministry where we complete a survey of the Bible every two years alternating between the Old and New Testament. This assures that all of our students have a foundational understanding of God’s actions and his love for each person throughout all of known history.
When students reach the Senior High Sunday Youth Bible Fellowships, we go more in-depth in studying individual books of the Bible and teach students how to study God’s word on their own to prepare them for continuing to grow in their knowledge of scripture beyond our doors.
Our Senior High Sunday Nights and Junior High Crosstrainers also teach God’s word through applying it to a wide variety of day-to-day applications in a Junior or Senior Higher’s life. In Small Groups we also teach God’s word as it fosters closer relationships with peers and care for one another.
Service projects and mission trips allow us to put hands, arms, and feet behind what we’ve learned from scripture to reach out to others through acts of service along with words of testimony.
Occasionally students have done their best to test me on my statement that ALL of what we do is based on God and his word and ask questions about various components of our youth ministries – “What about when we play dodgeball? How is that Rooted in Scripture?” “What about the Oakie Videos?” “What about the Rake and Run in the fall?”
I love it when these questions come up because it is a chance to go into more depth with the students and explain the reasons behind the things we do. I explain that Dodgeball is one of the many ways we have opportunities through fun games and events to draw students to experience God’s love and to hear scripture taught in a way that relates to their lives. The Oakies are a fun way to help students learn to tell a story to possibly a world-wide audience through technology, which they can also use to share scripture with that same audience world-wide. The Rake and Run is a way in which we live out what we learn in scripture and graciously serve people with no expectation of anything in return, and while doing so, we have opportunities to be witnesses for Christ through word and deed.
I am so glad that I serve and worship at East White Oak, where we so highly value and teach the Word of God. Just in the last couple of months I have received notes from former students who, after they have moved on to university or other endeavors, have come to realize the blessing of being raised in such a strong Bible believing and teaching church.
If you ever have any questions on why we do the things we do, just ask! It is incredibly important that we continue to be Rooted in Scripture!
Thank you for being that church!