To meet a student in 7th grade, and then to experience his/her growth throughout the next six years is one of the most amazing opportunities I get to have in youth ministry. Some students grow slowly…some students grow quickly. One student in particular has grown by leaps and bounds since I first met him. He started off in the youth group very hesitant and unsure about what we were about and if he would even feel comfortable around us. This student for a time would not try anything new or different and became upset when we pushed to challenge him a little. The first few activities were difficult for him, but soon he found the warmth of welcome from some students. As we invest in our students, God is continually working. Sometimes God is working on us through a student, and other times God is using us to work in the life of a student. Whether we realize it or not God has been working in the life of this young man and in the life of our youth group. In his interactions with all of us we have been stretched and pushed to experience people differently. This student attended our fall retreat. This was his first fall retreat. We weren’t sure what his experience would be but as I saw him take in his small group and drink in the other experiences of the weekend I saw his eyes open to more. On Saturday afternoon students had the chance to participate in three different high ropes adventure opportunities. For the longest time this young man just watched other students climb up or rappel down. He wanted to try but his confidence and courage weren’t ready. He continued to watch until he was asked one last time…and his response was, “yes.” We were all so excited that he would try, so he climbed the stairs of the rappelling tower, leaned backward out over the ledge, and slowly began to rappel down. It was amazing to hear the students and adults cheering for him as he made each step down the face of the wall. When he was back on the ground his smile told the story; it told of a challenge accepted, of a young man willing to say yes, and of chances taken when his community was behind him. Isn’t that what God asks of us? To take a chance, to trust God, and to know that our community of faith will support us every step of the way? This student has taught us all, and God has used him to show us that growth and change are hard at times but well worth it in the end. We are a better group because of him, and how he pushes us to see differently.
– Dane Martin

Contact / Location

Contact info

123, New Lenox, Chicago IL 60606

Gathering Times


8:00am, 9:15am, 11:00am