The number of young people attending South Langley Church, Langley, B.C., has more than doubled under the purpose statement “helping youth know and follow Jesus.” On average, 50 junior high youth attend meetings, less than 10 of whom have a church affiliation. Senior high and young adult groups also have vibrant attendance. Three-quarters of the worship teams are composed of young people from these groups.
Youth pastor Kevin Schulz attributes the attendance numbers to “an entire team of people in our church who truly have hearts for students and our youth ministry.” His vision is to make disciples, not be an entertainer, babysitter, or events organizer.
All the groups are active in mission abroad and at home. They have participated in two mission trips to Mexico, and in a number of local ministries to people who are homeless or low income earners. South Langley’s Sunday school program draws the majority of its volunteers from the senior high and young adult groups.
On their own initiative, the youth started writing encouragement cards and letters to the names listed in the bulletin for prayer. Letters quote Scripture and tell the receivers they are being prayed for.
“Every year, God sends us new students,” says Schulz, “and to be honest, we have no idea how they get here. We work hard to create a place where youth want to be and where they feel safe, cared for, and respected. God does the rest.