Student Takeover Sunday

This Sunday was a special one! We had the chance to hear from a handful of our CHCC students at a live Q&A. Pastor Curt finished the service with a brief message on wisdom and friendship.

"Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." - Proverbs 13:20

Scripture References & Transcript

Proverbs 13:20

1 Corinthians 15:33

Good morning indeed. We’re so grateful you’re here on a Sunday that looks a little bit different. Hopefully you were greeted by some, uh, kids that are too short to ride rollercoasters, right? That they were out there and, uh, you’ve been able to experience just a fantastic Sunday. When we started brainstorming this, Hey, what all could students do? We started brainstorming roles. The donut team filled up first. Just fun fact, it was gone before we even put it online. But worship and door holding and speaking, yes, we no kids on the golf cart team, okay? So you’re safe there. Nor security. Okay, we left those things. Still the adults, so we’re safe. But what a powerful morning and we’re so glad that you were here and hope that you just continue to be blessed by, uh, just this incredible panel here. And so I’m gonna let them introduce themselves to you. Let’s just go down the line. Your name, your grade, where you go to school.

Hi, my name’s Allison Hessey, and I’m a freshman at Thunder Ridge High School.

Hi, my name’s Eva Loren. I’m a junior at Mountain Vista High School.

My name’s Chase Jensen. I’m a seventh grader at Cresto Middle School. Hi, I am Char Dawson and I’m a junior at Valor.

And our, and our hope, just in a short time this morning is, you know, just that reminder, you’ve heard me say it before that, that this next generation, as we call them, they’re not the Church of Tomorrow, they’re the church of today. And so today is twofold. We want you to see just what God is doing in the next gen ministry here, but we also want those kids to understand the value of serving the local church and being a part of it. And so we’re just gonna have kind of a conversation this morning about what church, what student ministry has meant to them, but specifically what Cherry Hills has meant to them. And so, Allison, I just wanna start with you. What would you say is just your favorite parts of the student ministry here at Cherry Hills? Yeah,

It’s so hard to choose just one thing. Um, a big thing for me is definitely our student team. We’ve just been blessed with such amazing pastors and I know that if I have any questions or doubts, I can always go to them and they’re always there for me. Um, we also put on amazing events and just have grown such a good community. I’m so grateful for the friendship that I’ve made through youth. Um, and I’ve just found girls that support me and my walk with Christ and are always there for me and I love seeing them every weekend. Um, back to the events. We just did dodgeball and it was a hit. We had so many people come. We got to play Dodgeball and eat Chick-fil-A and it was just such a fun night. Um, and yeah, I’m just really grateful. I can’t wait to see what’s gonna happen for our youth and this is just a big change. So yeah.

Talk, talk a little bit about the role student leadership team has just kind of played for you and what that means to you think to our student ministry.

Yeah. So recently we have made a student leadership team and I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve my peers and the Lord. Um, and it’s just been such a good experience. I really love helping every Sunday and I just can’t wait to keep doing it. Yeah,

Awesome. Dodge ball was fun. She said it was a hit. Did you get it? It was a hit. Lots of hits in chain, link cages, but we served God’s chicken, so it’s okay. That’s allowed, that’s allowed. Chase, you have a cool story. Chase actually grew up here at Cherry Hills and he is got some fun memories. Those of you who’ve been around Cherry Hills a long time, he’s got one favorite memory. Just talk, share that with them. They will relate to that of how your family came to Cherry Hills and some of your earliest memories growing up in this church. Yeah,

So my dad started going to Cherry Hills in 2003 when he first moved to Colorado. And then once my parents got married, they just stuck with this church. And then once I was born, I went up through the nursery and then through the next levels of student ministry. Once till I got, once I got to about first grade, I wanna say, um, one of my earliest memories was, uh, at this place called the Fun Factory, where they did, sorry, skits and taught us about the gospel in a more kid friendly way, in a way that we could understand. And one skit that I specifically remember was about a woman who gave up all she had to the church and then they compared her to the rich men that gave a bunch of wealth and a bunch of money to the church, but it wasn’t nearly the amount of sacrifice that she gave.

And I felt like I really remember this one because I was kind of going to church and giving it my time, but I wasn’t really like all in, I just kind of, you know, just went to church, had fun, played with friends. I didn’t really actually think it meant anything. And then, um, I got my first Bible also from Cherry Hills. And once I got that, I felt like I was really connected now and I was really a part of the church. I always felt like I was, but now I felt like I was really in the record books and like they actually knew me. And um, just with all the things that Cheerios has done for me, I don’t think if I didn’t have ’em, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Chase, do you ever get stressed out? You seem who, who wishes They’ve just handling like Chase man, thanks. Uh, what a blessing. <laugh> Annie’s in the record books. I mean we’re in the presence. I’m just fame right here. Eva, your family moved to Colorado and Cherry Hills played a huge role in like when your family relocated and you were young, then kind of talk through the role that Cherry Hills played and how your family ended up picking this church.

Yeah, so my whole family and I started attending Cherry Hills around 2016 and that’s when we first moved here to Colorado. I was in third grade and my older brother had just started high school. So it was definitely a hectic time in the lives of our family. So we needed a good local nearby church. And we went around kind of church shopping every weekend and we landed here at Cherry Hills because it 100% had the best community for us. My older brother was a little bit of a shy kid, so it was such a blessing when he found a really awesome youth community here and it was so wonderful that he had a place where he could come and connect with friends his age and build those godly connections that are so important during your teen years. Um, that was the initial reason we showed up at Cherry Hills and it’s been so, so wonderful to watch our community just grow and flourish ever since then.

Yeah, what I also love is I had to find a new church as a kid when my family made a big move. Would you just share maybe just a little bit about the role Cherry Hills played in just helping you settle into a place that was new?

Absolutely. So moving was really tough for me as a kid. I felt like I had lost my whole life. All of my friends were gone. Um, and so church was such a wonderful place for me. I had a space I could go every week where I had friends and people who I could talk to, people who I knew would support me and who would always be comforting in there for me. And so it was just a wonderful way for me to settle in and find those friends here and realize that I was going to be okay even after a big move. Yeah,

Praise the Lord. That’s a cool story. Uh, Shar down there on the end, Shar looks sweet, but Shar plays linebacker for our valley girls flag football team. So Donnie don’t try to come up on the stage, we will take you out in a hurry. But Shar, I want you to share, ’cause Char’s got a really cool story of growing up with a dad in the military. And so just share what being connected to the student ministry has meant personally for you.

Yeah, um, so like you said, I was a military kid. I’ve moved eight times. Colorado was my eighth moved. Um, so if anybody knows about being a new kid, that would be me. Um, but for me personally, you know, growing up I didn’t have a consistent community to go to all of the time. And so when we finally planted roots at Cherry Hills, I found that with mentors and friends that poured into my life with a biblical lens. And it was, um, really amazing for me because I haven’t, I hadn’t had that before and I was so grateful to find it at Cherry Hills because yeah, they just all poured into my life in such amazing ways.

And, and Chase, just kind of a follow up, similar question because what has just the role specifically of the student ministry and maybe some leadership in there meant to you in your personal walk with the Lord?

So, yeah, as you said earlier, I grew up in the church, so I’ve always felt like I had a pretty good grasp on the gospel and like what God wanted me to do, sorry. And as I got older, I kind of felt like, you know, I’m kind of done. I don’t really, I pray, I read the Bible, I go to church, you know, I’m good. I get this whole Christian thing, I I understand it, I don’t need to do anymore. But Cherry Hills really helped me understand that I can always go further and I’m never too good for church and I’m never too good for God and I can always deepen my relationship. And they also helped me understand that I can teach the gospel to other people and also gimme the courage and just the ability to do that. And I feel like they really helped me just expand with my relationship with God and really improved me as a Christian and just a young man.

And then also Benny Ford, our guy’s youth pastor has been a great role model to me and just a great outlet even for me just to share what’s going on in my life and just talk to him. Um, the first time I met him, he just came right up to me, got to know me. Um, he was really nice about, it wasn’t like pushy or anything and he really helped me just as like an outlet or someone I could tell things to. ’cause I was just still trying to get things figured out as a 13-year-old and he really helped me understand that I can make it through, but I might need some help as well. So yeah, I really wanna be like him when I’m older.

Awesome. You want to be like Benny? Yeah. Oh no. Benny’s not here. So we can say that today. Eva, uh, what I love, she’s got a really cool story. So she’s in high school, junior in high school, but she’s a part of our high school ministry, but she also serves as a community group leader to a group of middle school girls. And so I want you to talk about how that even came about in the first place and then what that has meant to you.

Yeah, I have the wonderful honor of serving as a seventh grade girls small group leader and it’s just absolutely become one of the most impactful parts of my life. When I first started attending church here, I was kind of under the impression that church was still somewhat a chore, but don’t worry. Um, as soon as I got old enough to start attending the middle school ministry here, that whole mindset really started to switch for me. I was blessed with such, such a tight knit, um, small group of girls and I loved getting to come to church and spend time with them and hang out with my friends every week. I also had two unbelievably awesome high school girls who were my small group leaders and they let us fifth graders know that we could be seen and heard and that even at my age I could form a deep and personal relationship with Jesus.

So ever since that moment, um, I knew that was exactly the type of example I wanted to be able to set for other girls. And serving for the past now two and a half years, has given me that wonderful opportunity just to try to live a life of example for those girls. And my prayer is that every week I make them feel as seen and as heard and as important as my small group leaders did for me at one point. Um, this has been just such a wonderful opportunity to work on my leadership and listening skills, but also to work on how to have intentional interactions and conversations with these young girls about what they’re walking through and about their faith journey. It’s been one of the most rewarding things ever just to tee these young girls mature not only into young women but also as followers of Christ.

Now I want you to see what’s happening here. ’cause there’s a really cool connection. So because someone was willing to pour into and serve in student ministry, they had an unbelievable impact on Eva’s life. And as a re a result of that, she has turned around and she is pouring into girls and creating a ripple effect from that initial leader that is still going. And what I love is cool is the same thing is unfolding in your life, Alison. And so talk about what that person, who that person is, go ahead and share it and what that relational impact means of her showing up every week and serving as a community group leader.

Yeah, so my community group leader is Michelle Varner and I’ve known her since I’m about five or six years old. Um, and ever since then I’ve just looked up to her. It’s really important to me to have a mentor in my life that’s not my parents and she’s just filled that

Role so seamlessly. She’s just such a genuine person and I know that she’s always there for me if I have questions or doubts or stresses. She’s always there to listen and she’s just such a light in our youth group. Everybody knows her, everybody loves her. Um, and she always just walks with a smile. She’s really someone that can see Jesus in. She’s one of the most kindest and empathetic and wisest woman I know. Um, and she’s just so inclusive. She knows your name if you’ve known her for 10 minutes or 10 years, and she’s just such an amazing woman. When I’m older, I hope to be half the woman she is and I hope people can see Myah for Christ, like how I can see it, Michelle. Wow,

What a powerful testimony right there. Yeah, for sure. Chase. Uh, why don’t you tell us some of your funnest stories from, from, uh, student mystery. What, what, gimme one or two. Yeah,

Of course. So, um, they’re both from student camp. That’s one thing that I really enjoy. It’s in the summer and one of my favorite things is when we’re worshiping in the big atrium, um, I can go, we, me and my friends love to go up to the front and we’re right by where the singers are and I just feel really involved and like God’s with us and it feels like no one else is there except for us and just God. And it just really feels like meaningful. And I just, it really helps me to like understand what worship is and just go deeper into it. And then right after that we normally go back to our rooms and we watch a movie and just mess around and have fun and eat candy. And that’s another thing to just cool down and just have fun and I really like it.

<laugh>. Uh, so what, what I wanna make sure we some powerful stories, but I wanna make sure you get an accurate representation of our student team. So not everything can be super sappy. So I asked our high school girls here, go down the line, really paint a picture for all of these people here, those watching online. The funniest thing about our student team, let’s go down the line here.

Um, we really love to pick on Benny. Yes. We love to pie him in the face and dunk water on him and he’s just the main person for us to bully.

Yeah, he was made for that. Definitely, definitely about you.

I love the competitive spirit down at the youth ministry. The guys on the student team, um, especially are extremely competitive and they never fail to ruthlessly celebrate a spike ball win even when their competition is 11 year olds. Yes,

<laugh>, this is true, Shar.

Um, I would say we’ve been doing skits lately and so grown adults up on stage, dressed up as like little children is pretty funny.


They are little children. I manage them Monday through Friday and so you get a little taste of what I’m in store for. Uh, let’s close like this. Allison, I want to ask you this question. Someone in the room, maybe they’ve served in student ministry in the past, I maybe today there’s maybe an urging from the Lord that says maybe I should serve in student ministry. Is there an encouragement that you would give to someone out here about why, obviously the story of Michelle Varner is a powerful story, but just an encouragement you would give them to just get over that hump and go serve in student ministry?

Yeah, we just have such an amazing community and I promise you if you come down there, we’ll welcome you with Open Harms. We can always use the help and we would just be happy to have you. It’s just amazing down there and it’ll be so much fun. Yeah,

We told the first service, no pies. If you sign up today, you never get pie in the face. Hey. But if you miss it, if you miss it, you get a pie. Shar, I wanna ask you a similar question as we close here. A lot of students in the room, I I I had to find a new student ministry as a senior in high school. I know how difficult it is to, to try to plug into a place like that. The student ministry is much closer. Now we’re moving it right here. Why would you encourage a student or a parent in here who has a teenager or a grandparent who has a teenager, why is it so important for a teen today to be plugged into a student ministry?

Yeah, here’s what I would say, um, that you can’t go through your walk with Christ alone. You need a community to do it with you. Um, and so what better way to do it with a bunch of people your age, um, having fun and eating some Chick-fil-A um, I think that it’s really important to have, um, people with you to encourage you. Um, and so if you feel like you need more meaningful connections, more meaningful relationships, this is the place for you. Um, I’d encourage you to come down, check it out three or four times. I promise you it’s not that scary. It’s really is a good time. Um, give it a try. Don’t, don’t not come <laugh>.

Hey, would you give these students a round of applause? Didn’t they do a great job?

Really, really great job. It’s hard. It’s, it, it is much harder than they just made it look okay. And I’m so grateful for them and we’re so grateful for you who pray for our ministries and support our ministries. And so let’s go to the Lord in prayer while Pastor Kurt comes. Father, thank you for just this day. Thank you for the opportunity to just, uh, show, show our church what you’re doing in the next generation right here at Cherry Hills. Thank you for the opportunity to just live out scripture as we see just a reminder from Jesus of the importance of childhood faith, the importance of not allowing anyone to look down on them because of their age. Thank you for those in this room who pray for our next gen ministries who fund our next gen ministries and who serve in those ministries. Lord, would they just continue to be a ripple effect that changes the lives of kids over and over and over again that they return and do the same thing. Father, just be with us. Speak through Pastor Kurt this morning. Your name we pray. Amen.

Amen. Man, what an amazing Sunday. We got worship leaders and preachers and give them a big round of applause.

One Timothy four 12, Paul is writing to Timothy who he discipled and he says, do not let anyone look down on you because you are young. But instead set an example for the other believers in speech life, love, faith and purity. And I think that’s exactly what we witnessed today. I wanna show you a picture. And it’s a picture that is an optical illusion. It’s a picture of what is this person holding in their hand? A coke can, what color is that Coke can, it’s red, right? And now as I’m walking through the illustration, uh, if you pull out your cell phone and you look in the Cherry Hills mobile app, uh, you can see that photo and it’ll take up the whole screen. And so you can do exactly what I’m about to do so that you know that what I’m about to show you is real.

Because when you, you look at this photo, this looks like a red Coke can, but if you zoom in on the Coke, can, it looks like this. And you’ll learn that there is no red in that image whatsoever. None. And now I know some of you don’t believe me. Some of you like, well, clearly there was red in the image ’cause I just saw it. That’s a different type of image, but you can go try it for yourself there. There’s zero red pixels. There’s not even pink pixels inside this image. Uh, what’s happening is your brain is playing a trick on you. Here’s the, the explanation from the more scientific side behind it. This is an example of simultaneous color contrast, a phenomenon that occurs when two adjacent colors influence one another, changing your perception of the colors, the cones in your eyes. Make it seem like it is pink cones give your eyes good color vision, but can also play tricks with your brain.

Hence why from a distance IE not zoomed in the color appears pink. And why you see the can of Coke as red, even though there is no red in the image, essentially the way your eyes see color in the first place is by contrasting it with other colors. So when you are looking at anything, the way you’re brought your brain determines what color you are seeing is by contrasting it to the colors around it. I think so often in life what we don’t realize is that our perception of reality is heavily influenced by contrasting it with all the different things around it. The word discipleship is a word that we talk about a lot at church. And most of the time we think of the word discipleship as what we receive when we are at church, when we are learning more about God or scripture.

But do you know that the word disciple, if you go back to the first century, it wasn’t, it wasn’t necessarily even a religious word. Uh, here’s, uh, an understanding of that word disciple. That to disciple is one who learns from another, whether formal or informal by observation. And so what Jesus does with his disciples is discipling that, that they are learning from him through both formal settings where he’s teaching them and intentionally instructing them, but also informal settings where they’re just spending time together. But most of the discipleship occurs by observation. They’re watching him, learning from him and his lifestyle, his words, his actions, how he behaves is influencing them by their observation. And so we tend to think of discipleship as something that happens in a good way from the church. But, but can I tell you that discipleship is happening every day to every single one of us nonstop all the time.

But it’s not necessarily a good thing. The discipleship simply means that you are being influenced and, and driven a certain direction, both formally and informally by observation that everyone is being discipled. The question is, what or whom are you being discipled by? It’s a very relevant topic when you think of kids ministry and youth ministry. Well, our church has a passion, a heart, a desire to raise up these kids, to be all that God has created these kids to be, these children, these students. And part of that is discipleship, that we want them to love God and experience God through, through formal teaching and informal teaching. Uh, but also through observation that they’re surrounded by other people that are pursuing God and chasing after God. And that through that influence, they also chase after God. But here’s what we recognize and today’s culture, probably more so than any other time, is there is discipleship happening outside the walls of the church through observation, through instruction that is very different.

That if you think of how most people are being discipled, we are being discipled by the shows that we watch, the movies that we watch, the media that we consume, we’re being discipled by the people around us, the influences around us, the things that we get nonstop on our phone. And if we’re not careful, we can miss the fact that intentionally are unintentionally those influences are having a drastic impact on our future. Now look at what it says in proverb chapter 13, verse 20. He says, whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Eugene Peterson, his transl translation, the message he writes, this, become wise by walking with the wise, hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces or one other version. N CV says this, spend time with the wise and you’ll become wise, but the friends of fools will suffer.

Now, now we know that to be true. So you probably can think back of people that you know or have known where they become more and more like the people that they hang around. I was a youth pastor for a long time, children’s pastor for a long time. And here’s what was always funny when you had a, a different grade in youth ministry where you’d see those same teenagers over a multitude of years, and you’d see kids that would start hanging out with each other. And then over the course of a few years hanging out more and more and more, all of a sudden they would become more and more and more like each other. Like, like sometimes I remember one instance where a, a kid started hanging out with a different group and and almost every year they looked physically more and more like that group.

Like they started changing their hair and they started changing their dress and they started changing, uh, just kind of their style. And all of a sudden their speech started reflecting more and more like that group. And probably you in your life, if you think of certain slang terms, movie references, cultural references, probably you have a group of people that talk like you and act like you and are similar to you. It it’s funny ’cause I, I think oftentimes we think, well, no, I’m, I’m different. I’m my own person. But I promise you, if you go back and look at a yearbook from the 1980s and you start flipping through that yearbook, what do you see? You say, everybody looks the exact same, they got the same hair.

And then if you go to the nineties, everybody looks the exact same. Everybody dresses the same. Everybody has certain characteristics that they’re all kind of conforming to, and that’s every single decade. But what’s odd is we don’t feel it in the moment. We think, well, no, that’s not me. I’m, I’m kind of my own unique person. And yet what you will know with hindsight in the future is you can look back on your past and recognize that I was heavily influenced by those people that I spent the most time with. And that can be a good thing. I I, I’ve seen teenagers that they got grouped together with the right crowd that was challenging them and encouraging them, and someone soared. I mean, you saw them go down a path that, that in some ways they were overachieving because they surrounded themselves with great people that helped them pursue God in a powerful and passionate way.

But I’ve also seen students that they got with the wrong crowd in the wrong crowd started to influence them slowly at first, subtly at first. But then more and more they started veering off this certain path towards a different direction, a direction that led towards destruction and pain and sorrow. Jim Ron, who was a motivational speaker, he, he’s coined this famous phrase. He said, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. In other words, the five people you spend the most time with are discipling you. They’re influencing you, they’re taking their values and they’re imprinting them onto you intentionally or unintentionally. There’s this interesting thing that happens in life. I remember when I was a kid, I thought my parents were superheroes and I, I fortunately blessed with amazing parents, mom and dad, uh, love God, awesome people. And as a kid, I just thought they were the greatest people in the world until I got to about sixth grade. And guess what happens in sixth grade? If you of your parents changes, all of a sudden you decide, well, they’re not that great.

You know, they, everybody else, they’re not that cool. Um, I don’t know that I wanna be hogging them in front of all my friends. And all of a sudden, somewhere around junior high, what starts to happen? That, that the way that you hear things from your parents starts to go down and the way that the other people around you start to speak in your life starts to go up. Their influence increases as your parents influence decreases. Now, I’m not trying to belittle parents, the parents, I, I am a parent. We are the primary decision maker with our kids. We are the primary influence of our kids. There’s a old phrase that says, uh, your kids will do what you tell them to do until they’re about 12 years old. Then they do what you do. And so they are learning from us intentionally or unintentionally, but our thoughts, our words, and our actions.

But there comes a stage where all of a sudden other influences in their life raise up. And the question in that moment is, what will those influences be? Now, Paul, in one Corinthians uh, chapter 15, verse 33 writes this, do not be deceived. Bad company ruins good morals. Uh, my life, uh, I grew up in the church, so my parents loved Jesus. And we were that family that went to church every single week. So we were at church on Sunday morning back in the day. There was Sunday night, there was Wednesday night. If there was a lock-in or a retreat or a youth camp, we were signed up. Like it was just a non-negotiable. We went to youth camp every single summer, we went to kids camp. Every single, we went to vacation Bible school. Like if the church had to sign up, my mob just walked over and said, I don’t even know what it is.

I don’t know the dates. We’re just gonna fill it out. It’s gonna happen. We’re gonna go. And there were moments that I didn’t wanna go. Can I be honest? There are moments I was like, oh, I don’t really want to go to this, and yet I can look back now and have so much value for that decision that my parents made. Now can I be honest with you about something? And I know this is gonna shock some of you ’cause I’m a pastor. My kids don’t want to come to church every single Sunday. I know, I know. Some of you are like, wait, what? Literally this morning I had a kid come into our room on the bed, start to cry with tears because they didn’t want to go to church. And guess what we did this morning? We told her she’s gonna go to church.

Now, there’s this odd thing that happens with, with our relationship with church and our kids, uh, where there’s a part of us that think, well, they need to want it every single Sunday. And if they don’t love it and excited about it, then maybe we shouldn’t let him go. But, but here’s the thing. Do we apply that in any other context in life? Like guess what? My other, the other things that my kids don’t wanna do, sometimes go to school, like often my kids come in, Hey, I don’t want to go to school today. I think I might be sick.

And do you know what we decide in our family when our kids don’t wanna go to school, they go to school anyway, they don’t get a vote. There are days that my kids don’t wanna be there, eat their vegetables. And guess what? In those days what they’re gonna do, they’re gonna eat their vegetables. And I’m stubborn, like I got kids at the dinner table. My wife’s not as stubborn as me. I’m just stubborn. So sometimes we’ll be sitting in that dinner table and say, Hey, you can’t get up until you, you eat those two pieces of broccoli. And, and probably in the big scheme of things, the nutrition they’re getting from two pieces of broccoli in’t that big of deal. But for me, it’s the principle. And so I’m like, you are not allowed to leave the table until you eat the two pieces of broccoli.

And sometimes I’ll, I’ll say something dumb like this, I am not leaving the table and you are not leaving the table until you eat those pieces of broccoli. And not too long ago, I was at the dinner table for 45 minutes after everybody had left just me and the 5-year-old waiting it out, <laugh>. But I’m more stubborn than she is. I started reading a book and guess what eventually happened? She ate the broccoli. See, here’s my philosophy at least that, that my kids can make decisions in their life once I stop paying for their life. Like eventually, yeah, hey, what, what? Once I don’t pay for your life, man. You don’t have to go to church. You can do whatever you want, but as long as I am paying for you, I own your life and I own your time. And so on a Sunday morning, guess what we decide to do?

We go to church. And so here’s part of the reason that I’m so passionate about it, because my life is a product of that when I was in sixth grade. But the mo outside of my mom and dad, the most influential figure in my life spiritually was a guy named Josh Ellis. Josh Ellis was 19 years old. He was our youth intern. And when I was in sixth grade, 12, 12 years old, I was just the plucky junior high kid that just went to everything and was loud and obnoxious and awkward. And 19-year-old, Josh Ellis came to 12-year-old Kirk Taylor and said, Hey, I would like to disciple you. I had no clue what the word disciple meant, but he was 19 years old, so I thought he was the coolest person in the world. So I was like, yeah, let’s do it. Absolutely. And so what started when I was 12 years old, meeting with Josh every single week has continued all the way up until now.

Uh, Josh, Josh met with me every week. Uh, he officiated my wife and i’s wedding. I talk to him at least once a month. Oftentimes I talk to him once a week. He’s become a spiritual mentor in my life that has poured into my life. And I can stand here today knowing that so much of the good decisions that I made in my life were because of the discipleship that I received from Josh Hel. But here’s something that’s interesting. Do you know that I couldn’t tell you a single lesson that he ever taught me? Like I couldn’t tell you a single thing that he said down open and said, okay, I’m gonna teach you this, this message with these three points. I can’t remember one single time, but here’s how discipleship works, that I was influenced heavily simply by observation, by doing life with Job Josh.

And can I tell you that that’s, that’s the idea and the goal of community inside a church. That’s what discipleship is supposed to be. That if we take our kids and our students and we continue to surround them with a community they’re chasing after Jesus, that they are discipled by that community. Mom and dad always have to be discipling our kids, but at some point as that influence from their perspective goes down, we need to find other influences that come alongside that have the same vision and direction that we do as mom and dad and say, I want that type of a community, that type of a discipleship, walking alongside my kids so that they can have the same voice that I would be telling him those same situations. And so our heart for the church, for our kids, for our teens, is to disciple them up to be all that God has created them to be.

But here is the challenge. It’s recognizing that if you are a parent in the room, your children are being discipled. And the question is, who or what is discipling them? Same is true for the adults in the room, and we’re all being discipled. And my question, my challenge to you is who are you being discipled by? And so, so two challenges that I would end with. Number one, that if you’re an adult in the room, I would challenge you if you only attend worship and are not in any way, shape or form plugged in the community, I mean, today make that decision to say, I’m gonna go try out a connect group. I’m gonna try out a Bible study class. I’m gonna go to a men’s group, a women’s group. If you open the app, there’s all kinds of events that we’ve got coming up.

There’s all kinds of programs that we’ve got coming up as soon as we’re done in a second. And you can go back to Trailhead and say, Hey, I I want to take that next step. Well, what’s a way that I can find community and get plugged in? And so my encouragement to you is that if you are a believer, then you should have a community that is discipling you. While simultaneously you should be investing in discipling other people. That’s what Jesus says when he gives us the great commission, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them as I’ve commanded you, teaching them to observe all that I’ve committed. That’s the idea of discipleship that we’re pouring into other people. And then lastly, if you’re a student, a kid in the room, can I just challenge you? Especially for our teenagers in the room, our our youth group.

Uh, we’re having a big move. And so as soon as we’re done, go check out the open house. You can’t miss it. You walk out these doors, it’s right there on the right. You got a whole new area, a whole new zone. They’re doing big stuff next weekend as part of Mother’s Day to kick it off. And maybe you’ve never gone to youth group where maybe you’ve tried it once, but you really didn’t like it going into a big space for the very first time. I always say it’s like going to a junior high dance. If you’ve ever been to a junior high dance, the one word that can sum it up is awkward. Everybody’s awkward. Everybody feels awkward, nobody’s sure what to do with their hands. Like that’s the whole thing. And the first time you go to a big space like that, it feels weird.

But if you’ll keep going back and keep giving a shot, keep trying, you will find a community that will encourage you and challenge you and push you to be all that God has created you to be. And I realize there’s, there’s some people in the room that you’ve, you’ve had, you’ve been disappointed by the church, the Capital C Church, maybe you’ve even been disappointed by this church. And nowhere in scripture does it say that the church is gonna be perfect. It’ll never mess up. But Jesus gives us the church, the bride of Christ as a community to encourage us to push us. Don’t miss out on all that she has to offer.