Students Explore Spirituality, Serving, and God’s Call

Post a Comment » Written on July 7th, 2009     
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CHICAGO, IL (July 7, 2009) – High school students living as far apart as Arlington, Massachusetts, and Unalakleet, Alaska, gathered in Chicago to spend last Tuesday through Saturday developing new spiritual practices, listening for God’s call on their lives, and learning to serve in their communities.

Students and youth leaders from nine Evangelical Covenant churches representing five conferences participated in this year’ Youth Nexus event, says coordinator Bob Auger. The participants were “wonderfully diverse” ethnically, he added, noting that they included African Americans, Africans, Caucasians, Indians, Native Alaskans, and Latinos.

Kids“As always it was amazing to see the students and leaders gel so quickly as they began to share their experiences with each other and to have shared experience together,” Auger says.

Students spent the mornings learning from faculty of North Park Theological Seminary and denominational leaders. Following lunch, they engaged in activities or visited sites that built upon the day’s theme. Click here to see additional photos.

Daily themes included spiritual formation, caring for themselves and their relationships, ways of approaching differences together, and developing an understanding of what God may be calling them to do.

It was important for participants to learn about more than how ministry is done in Chicago, Auger says. The students also learned how to contextualize the lessons into their own settings.

No one suffered for a lack of things to do.

GroupStudents took trips to the new Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, the Art Institute of Chicago, and John Hancock Tower observatory. Auger noted that going to the top of the Hancock – the city’s fourth largest building – offered an opportunity for “a macro, hands-off view of the city that was later contrasted with a very micro, hands-on view of several city-based ministries.”

Newly commissioned Covenant short-term missionaries John and Rebecca Kim shared how they each discerned their calls to mission.

Some of the time was spent just relaxing. The students visited the Field Museum, Millennium Park, and rode the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier, where they also watched the city’s large fireworks display.

The seminary’s Making Connections initiative, funded by a Lilly Grant, sponsors Youth Nexus as a way to communicate North Park’s ministry vision to church communities around North America. Youth pastors nominate the students based upon their potential as future ministry leaders. The program started in 2004.

The number of participants was slightly smaller this year, Auger says, due to several timing issues. The denomination’s Annual Meeting, the Cornerstone Christian rock festival, and CHIC all are being held within several weeks of each other.

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