Stories of C.E.'s Impact
True Stories of Christian Endeavor's Impact in the Local Church
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Reflections from Youth Leader, Josh Good
For the past 5 years, we've been implementing Christian Endeavor as the core of our student ministry's discipleship program. This Fall has been the most challenging, by far! After using the iPledge curriculum to examine the C.E. Pledge with my students, the vast majority of them were hesitant to commit, including many of the students who had committed in previous years. Rather than having students flocking to verbally commit to a lifestyle of pray, study, serve, share & worship, I found myself having challenging conversations with students:
"Why do we need the Pledge if we've already been baptized?"
"If I signed the Pledge before, but really stank at living it out, what does recommitting look like?"
"How can I commit to the Pledge if I know I'm not going to live it out perfectly?"
"Why can't I be involved in leading & planning for the youth group unless I commit to the lifestyle of the Pledge?"
"Does the Pledge really sum up what a life lived for Jesus actually looks like?"
"Should middle schoolers be allowed to publicly commit to the Pledge, since they're so immature?"
"How can we really hold each other accountable so we continue to live out the Pledge?"
"Why haven't the youth leader :) and the adults at church publicly committed to the Pledge lifestyle?"
In most cases, I didn't have quick or simple answers for these questions. I was frustrated that they weren't just following the system I'd laid out for them. But, then I realized something incredibly important & incredibly profound - the depths of their wrestling with these issues is exactly what I wanted from the Christian Endeavor model! Because of C.E., I get the opportunity to have difficult conversations now, about serious spiritual, theological and ecclesiastical issues, setting my teens on a course for a lifetime of meaningful engagement & service for Christ at their local church. This season has certainly not been the simplest...but it has been the best. Through the framework of the Pledge & the other C.E. elements, the teens I work with are wrestling with their faith walk more than I've ever seen before. Praise God for real impact on the spiritual lives of teenagers!!
--Pastor Josh Good, Trinity E.C. Church, Terre Hill PA
Encouraging Words from Windsor Baptist Youth Leader
Christian Endeavor has been a part of Windsor's youth ministry for some time. C.E. has helped our students grow closer to the Lord as well as strengthened their faith. It has also helped build life time relationships with other youth from different youth groups. Every time we come back from a C.E. event, the youth are fired up for the Lord and are excited to tell their friends about Him.
We have attended Work Camps that gave the youth an opportunity to help those in need as well as build life skills by working on people's homes. A few of our youth had the opportunity to serve on the Chester County C.E. board. This gave them a chance to lead, serve and help plan events. Over the years, some of our youth have become M&M's (mentor & motivator) at Summer Assembly. What a joy it is to see them serve their peers through this program.
We are blessed and thankful that C.E. is a part of our youth ministry here at Windsor Baptist Church.
--Jon Carmichael, youth leader, Windsor Baptist Church, Uwchland PA
Celebrating "Allen Christian Endeavor" Children & Youth Sunday
For longer than I can remember there has been an Allen Christian Endeavor (Allen Christian Endeavor is the name used in the African Methodist Episcopal Church) group at St. Paul AME Church in Columbus, Ohio. Through the years, many of our youth had their first experiences of speaking in public or leading at least a portion of a meeting in C.E. and that is still true today.
One Sunday of the year is designated as ACE Sunday and our members along with the advisers plan and conducts the worship services, including selection of the speaker, who may come from among our advisers. Our youth learn about the Bible and develop some leadership skills as they are often a part of the planning for our projects and activities.
Nowadays, we find ourselves more challenged than in the past to attract youth as we must compete more with school and other community activities for their time, but we still offer principles and a spiritual basis that is not always present outside the church.
More than a few of our current church officers and leaders were C.E.'ers in their youth and continue to serve "For Christ and The Church." We pray this type of influence will continue to be evident for years to come.
--Larry Clark, youth leader, St Paul AME Church, Columbus Ohio
C.E. Develops Deep Friendships
The ministry of Christian Endeavor is essential to our church’s youth program. We are a smaller sized church with an active youth group of 12- 15 middle school and high school students. Only three of these students are currently high school age. By participating in Christian Endeavor and Chester County C.E. programming, we can provide opportunities for our students to engage with similar age Christians from other churches. Through the camps provided by Christian Endeavor, our youth have developed deep friendships with other youth and have formed deeper relationships with each other. C.E.'s Summer Assembly provides insightful speakers, spirit-led music worship teams, and dedicated young adults committed to leading youth to Christ and strengthening their faith. This ministry has “grown” our group spiritually and socially. A great mix of study, worship, fellowship and fun makes this the highlight of the year for our youth. One of our senior high students does daily devotions with a friend that she met at Summer Assembly. Even though they do not live close to each other, they use technology to obtain the devotion and social media to discuss it. They are both growing in their faith because of their commitment to each other and to God. Christian Endeavor provides elements to our youth program that we are not able to do. Working together with them, we can provide a more effective ministry to our youth.
--Peg Dombach, volunteer youth leader, Honey Brook Presbyterian Church, Honey Brook PA
The Ripple Effect C.E. is having on Trinity Lighthouse of Royersford
From a leader's perspective, seeing the friendships that our teens have made with those from other churches has been very cool to see. The youth of today struggle with so many issues - anything from bullying to eating disorders to being able to live up to what the world tells them they should be - it is exciting to see teens engage with peers outside of their own youth group that are going through the same issues. This provides them an even larger Christian peer group that can support them through the tough times. And our teens keep these friendships going all year through Social Networks and meeting up on their own accord.
Our teens love going to WOW the CCCE winter weekend retreat, and Summer Assembly the C.E. Summer Conference. They look forward to these events months in advance each year. Not only do the teens have fun connecting with friends, participating in creative recreation games, and listening to fascinating speakers, the spiritual growth they go through is amazing. To see teens from our group share with others the hurt that they have on their hearts makes us as leaders proud to see the steps that they have made. It is moments like these that really point to the impact that C.E. has made on our Youth Group, and we are grateful for our partnership.
--Karl & Kim Hoffman, volunteer youth leaders, Trinity Lighthouse Church, Royersford PA
Signing of the Pledge at Central Schwenkfelder
As I look around at all the incredible students who attend Wired & Crave (our middle school & high school ministry), I am overwhelmed. There are so many unique and gifted students who have given their life to Christ. These young believers have a lot to offer but nowhere to use their gifts or develop into a spiritual leader.
The Endeavor Program and C.E. Pledge makes a lot of sense. Can I overcome my trust issues with regards to delegating youth program responsibilities? Yes, I can. If I can't, I will continue to rob students and leaders of growth and service opportunities.
The C.E. Pledge is essential. It is the standard of life for our students and the target for which they strive as followers of Christ. Signing the C.E. Pledge is the perfect next step after students receive Christ as their Savior. It's biblical, it's measurable and it is attainable. In addition, it is the foundation for trusting the youth with the ministry.
The Endeavor Program BLESSES the youth ministry and the church overall in the present and is developing church leaders of the future. It gives me chills just thinking about our Endeavor Council meetings. Students take their leadership role very seriously. As I sit at a table surrounded by student committee representatives and the elected moderator and vice moderator, it is the most encouraging feeling I have had in my 13 years of youth ministry experience. I am seeing the fruits of student leadership as they live their lives according to God's purpose. --Julian Scavetti, Youth Pastor, Central Schwenkfelder Church, Lansdale PA
Learning to grow in Christian Community at First Church, Ephrata
Since starting C.E. at our church I have been driven to revisit who & what we are about as a ministry. As I have talked with others & prayed for a direction we started moving to small groups this fall. We took our name and meaning & developed 3 small groups that fit with our current needs. We have a Connect, Construct & Contact small group.
Our connect group will focus on how we connect with each other and our connection to God by praise, in prayer, and in baptism and the Lord's Supper. To Parents/ Guardians through communication and activities and to Peers through periodic combined activities with other churches.
Our construct group will focus on leadership & helping youth see the whole picture as well as teaching Wisdom through biblical, theological, and historical studies, Character through submission, stewardship, and accountability.
Our contact group will focus on the church through fellowship, care, unity and disciple-making. The community through involvement, compassion, and evangelism. And, the world through global outreach, and world relief.
So far we are only 6 weeks into the groups & there is excitement in the adults. We have seen youth step up & want to be owners of the ministry rather than participants. I, as the youth pastor, am excited by the excitement of the others in the ministry as we move to develop & enable the youth as leaders not only in this ministry, but in their whole lives! --Matt Ross, Youth Pastor, First Church, Ephrata PA
17 Youth at Terre Hill's Trinity E.C. commit to grow in Christ through following the C.E. pledge
I've found the Christian Endeavor discipleship model, as well as the support and encouragement I've received from the Christian Endeavor team, to be incredibly helpful & beneficial. The C.E. model allows me to lovingly call students to a high standard of biblical living, opening windows of opportunity to speak into their spiritual condition like I've never experienced before. And it also enables me to encourage, equip and unleash them to DO ministry right now to the best of their ability! I would highly recommend that this model be part of how every church approaches their young people. --Pastor Josh Good, Trinity E.C. Church, Terre Hill PA