BY PASTOR PETER LEE
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
To say that one’s teenage years are a formative time of life might be an understatement. It seems unnecessary to mention the correlation between our church experience during our middle school and high school years and whether we remain in the faith or not. Even for those of us who might have stepped away from the church for a time during our college or young adult years, the foundational truth of the Gospel that were planted up until our graduation from youth group was the anchor that grounded us.
It is for this very reason why we, as the pastoral staff of the youth group ministry, are so excited for this new chapter of our church’s story. Looking back, it was the unorthodox investment of a KC and its leadership that led to the ability for an interdependent EC to flourish and grow. The first-generation Korean-American immigrants recognized the value of investing in the next generation. It was this very same heart of pouring into the next generation that has made possible the building and funding of the Student Ministry Center.
This time, it is not only the KC, but also members of the EC who now have an opportunity to give towards the building up of the next generation.
As we undergo the transition into a new building, we are also in the process of formalizing our identity. Up until now, we have simply been the ODPC Youth Group. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being the youth group of a church, but being surrounded by the Fruitful Vineyard, Little Lights, and Kids for Christ, we wanted to more strongly identify ourselves and really give clarity to our vision.
Therefore, in addition to a new meeting location, we are undergoing another exciting change: a new name! Henceforth, our ODPC Youth Group is now The Grove.
The definition of a grove is a small orchard of fruit-bearing trees. As young children who first started their growth seeking to be a Fruitful Vineyard, it was fitting that their transition out of childhood would be at the Grove, helping us to stay aligned with the rest of the church. Community and meaningful relationships are something that we all seek and desire, and so we want to see a youth group, that though we may be relatively large in number, we would be able to feel familial and familiar to those who are in it and who come to visit it. In addition, we want to see our members bear fruit in their lives, a la Galatians 5, rather than just simply being a grouping of decorative trees. Finally, healthy trees require deep roots, and we pray and hope that their time in youth group would help their roots to grow deep, which is possible in a setting that invites questions and is not surprised by doubt.
So, as we enter into this next stage of our ministry, it is our plea that you would continue to partner with us, both in prayer and in practice. Now that the construction is all done and the building has been completed, the real exciting work of actually using it to grow the young people of our church begins.
In a day and age where relativism and tolerance are but mere buzzwords that people throw around and Christianity is seemingly more and more irrelevant, the need to better equip our youth and to help them understand the world through a biblical lens is all the more necessary. We need parents who are willing to fully engage with their children in helping them to see the world around them through a biblical lens. We need young singles and couples who will demonstrate continued Christian growth and the call to always serve. At the end of the day, we need a church that will fully bear the responsibility of being a village that raises the next generation of children.
Pastor Peter Lee serves in ODPC’s youth group ministry.