Tag Archive: emergency ministries

So…what is the deal with this guy Abraham anyways? That was the question that we tackled on Wednesday at youth. We have been attempting to figure out what the whole story of the Bible is and we determined that it is this: God’s attempt to restore a broken relationship between you and I. It’s actually quite dramatic and “chick-flick” like romantic; a desperate lover moves heaven and earth to reconcile himself to his bride. If you think I am overstating this just read Song of Songs in your Bible.

God decided to use Abraham to get the attention of the world. This old man who had no sons was given a son whose descendants would form a great nation: the nation of Israel. This nation was given great blessings as well as the promise of divine protection (…I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you…).

God’s intention was that these blessings would not just remain with Israel but that they would get the attention of the whole world….and that through Israel the whole world would be blessed and realize that God Almighty is THE God!

We tried an experiment: I dumped a ton of candy on a random group’s table in the youth room and watched what happened (Alisha, Kaitlin, Chris & Stephanie were the luck ones!). Those at the candy table were thrilled to be there and those who were not there were paying close attention to the candy table and even attempted to snuggle up to them and get to know them…hoping that they would get a share of the candy.

This was exactly God’s plan! Israel would be blessed and others would be attracted to that blessing. In turn they would hear about Israel’s faith in God and that God was the source of all of their blessings.

It didn’t always work out as planned. If it had of there would be no need for such a big bible. The fact of the matter is that Israel didn’t always live up to the blessing that they were given….and so the story continues.

More on that story next week!

Submitted by Alisha Sheppart

On Thrusday, September 29, the girls of Emergency Ministries held the first Girls’ Night Out of the new school year. Alisha Sheppart organized the event, sending out emails, and creating a facebook event page to promote it. The girls were also encouraged to bring their school friends.

The girls gathered at Pastor Nathan and Mandy’s house right after school. There was about 10 girls in attendance, with Mandy Hill and Cindy Morrone there as leaders. The girls ate snacks, baked and decorated cupcakes, and played a few games, such as charades. They also chatted about school, church, and any thing that was going on in they’re lives. They enjoyed each other company, and everyone said that they had a great time.

The next Girls’ Night out will be held at the beginning of November and will be a manicure party!! If you have any questions about the Girls’ Night Out, be sure to ask Alisha Sheppart! 🙂

This morning at 8:05AM almost a dozen students gathered around the flagpole at Essex District High School. As I write this post students at Gosfield North Central Public School are gathering at their school. Why, you may be wondering? Because today is our annual See You At The Pole (SYATP) event. Still confused? Let me explain.

It all started with a small group of teenagers in Burleson, Texas who came together for a DiscipleNow weekend in 1990. These students wanted to spend time together praying to God and growing spiritually together. Throughout this experience they felt a real great burden to pray for their schools; they drive to three different schools that night, gathered around the flagpole, and prayed. It was as simple as that

The vision for this grew however; the students wanted to coordinate an effort where students all over Texas would be praying simultaneously for their schools. This movement quickly adopted the name See You At The Pole (every school has a flag pole) and the idea was shared with 20,000 students in June of 1990 at the Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas. That year, on September 12, 45,000 students gathered at the flagpoles of their school in four different states to pray before the start of school.

On September 11, 1991, the number quickly grew to 1,000,000 students praying at the flagpoles of their school from Boston all the way to Los Angeles. Today there is over 3,000,000 students praying in the United States as well as a vast number of students from over 20 countries around the world.

One act of faithfulness in 1990 has sparked a worldwide student prayer movement. And we have been a part of this for two years running at Essex District High School. Though we are only a very small part of this large movement, faithfulness in prayer pays off more than we can possibly imagine.

2 Chronicles 7:14  “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

James 5:16  “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

For more information fee free to visit www.syatp.com

After a long break from blogging things are back up and running! This week at Emergency Ministries and Monkey Barrel we hung out together and talked about what it is like to go through changes and transitions in life. I shared about my experience working at McDonalds while I was in High School; the only thing constant about that job was that there was constant change! The crew changed, the menu changed, the prices changed (and went up!) and the contests changed. (BTW, I cannot wait until the monopoly contest comes back this fall!)

All of the students are now going through a period of change. Teachers change, schools change, friends change, courses change, grades change, after school hang outs change…and change can be lonely, stressful & sad.

One of the great things about faith in God Almighty is that the bible records stories of His interaction with humanity in almost every situation that we can imagine. The prophet Isaiah speaks to the Israelite people around the time of their defeat and exile at the hands of the Babylonians. The Babylonians were a nation that came and destroyed the homes and cities of the Israelites and then carried all the people off to their land to work for them; talk about a changing season in their life! Nevertheless, this is what God says to the Israelites through the prophet Isaiah:

 “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
(Isaiah 43:1-3)


The moral of the story is this: God does not come to pass. Instead, God comes to stay. Israel was going to get through and indeed thrive in their new season of life not because they were amazing in and of themselves but because they were going to place their faith in God once again.

I urge you, both Monkey Barrel and Emergency Ministries students, to place your faith in God this semester and see how his blessings and provision make the changing seasons of life much more bearable.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”      (John 16:33)

Tuesday night was our weekly Emergency Ministries event in Essex and this week we decided to carpool to Silver City to catch some movies together. I must give credit for this idea to Michael Sheppart, one of our recent High School graduates. He commented once that all the movies we can rent and show in house are so old no one cares anymore or they are “garbage” (his word). So, in order to watch something current and something is not “garbage” we have carpooled to Silver City the past two years.

The guys (and a few brave girls) went to see Transformers. It was a busy night; we had to sit in the front row and I am not lying when I say that I am on my second extra strength Tylenol fighting the headache I got from looking up at the screen for two and a half hours. By the way…the movie would have been just as good (for me anyways) if they had cut out about 30 minutes of ‘bang bang BOOM’ at the end. I might not even have a headache if they had done that!

Aside from being a little longer than necessary at the end, I did find the plot and the storyline quite entertaining. Two positive messages emerged from the movie and are worth remembering.

1. Everyone wants their life to make a difference.
Sam really wanted to make a difference with his life. Early in the movie he sat through many job interviews and was ultimately offered a job in a mailroom; not the job a recent college graduate wanted to get. Sam’s new boss had some wise words when Sam initially rejected the job. He said, “What you want Sam is the job after this job”. The moral of this story, if you are faithful with the little things you will be faithful with the big things. If you are unfaithful or slothful with the little things, you will also be unfaithful or slothful with the big things. (I’ve read that somewhere before….hmmmm) Sam eventually got to have his big moment of significance later in the movie!

2. If you make a deal with the devil you will get burned…every time!
It was a mistake on the part of Sentinel Prime and the human race to think that they could make a deal with the Decepticons. (I can hardly believe I am having a serious conversation about Decepticons  and Autobots) No matter how alluring, how tempting, or how much of a good idea it seemed, the Decepticons showed their true colors when in the end they attempted to destroy the very people (and robots) that they made an initial agreement with. Wrong is wrong and bad is bad not matter how good it might look for a moment in time. Remember that!

All in all it was a great night. I got to know H.G. a little better and quite honestly she needs to have a reality TV show based on her life. I told her I’d give a shout out to her crazy one-liners in my blog today and so here it is. If you don’t know her yet I challenge you to have just one conversation with her and they you’ll see what I mean!

The girls (and a few brave guys) went to see Zookeeper last night and you can read my wife’s review of that movie on her blog at www.mandyhill.ca

Our youth ministry at EGCC regularly participates in hands-on ministry endeavors so that our students have an opportunity to experience a practical side to their faith. We have assistance numerous times at the local soup kitchen, we have operated two short term missions trips to the Dominican Republic during March Break (2008 & 2010) and we have participated in other local events. This summer we are doing something that we have never done before: we will attempt to plant a Jr. High Youth ministry at a sister church in the city!

This is the plan: we know from the body of research that exists regarding teens and faith that students are most receptive to faith in Christ in their Jr. High years (i.e. ages 10-14, grades 5-8). It makes sense therefore that this is out target group. We are in the process of planning an entire week long Jr. High day camp to be held at our sister church and staffed by a mix of volunteers from our youth ministry and their youth department. This will be held from August 22-26. We will blitz the surrounding neighborhoods with flyers & posters as well as engaging the online community with a Twitter account, Facebook page, custom website, and a YouTube promotional video. All of this will be coming online shortly.

What are we expecting for an outcome? We are praying and expecting that significant relationships will be initiated between our sister church and their surrounding neighborhood. We want to see this week long summer camp turn into a weekly Jr. High ministry at our sister church; plans are already underway for this to happen. Ultimately we want to see these Jr. High students grow into well discipled Sr. High students and bring a new dynamic of youth and leadership to come alongside of the existing leadership at our sister church. These are ambitious plans…but all things are possible!

What can you do to help in this effort? If you are a teenager that attends Emergency Ministries, we need a few more volunteers to work on preparations as well as running the events during the week of the day camp. If you are not a teenager please pray for us, our sister church, the neighborhood, and the ministry staff that will carry on this program in the fall.

As with most other youth event, I will provide a daily blog update during the summer missions project so that you can keep on top of what we are doing and so that you will know how to pray for us that week. Stay tuned for more info!

After having been involved in youth ministry for a decade now I have come to observe that as far as faith in God is concerned there are two critical moments a teenager’s life: the moment they enter the teen years and the moment they exit the teen years. Statistics have backed this up saying that an individual is most receptive to faith in Christ as they enter the teen years (I shared these statistics in MISSING PEOPLE: Where have all the Jr. High boys gone?). Statistics also say that an individual is most vulnerable for walking away from their faith as they exit the teen years more than any other time in their life. My personal observations over the years have found this to be true.

David Sawler is an author and church planter in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia who wrote a very timely book about this trend of students simultaneously exiting their teen years and shedding their faith. The book is called “Goodbye Generation” and deals with the reasons why this statistics are the way that they are. Among the many great reasons stated in the book here are three that struck me most:

1. Teens today do not understand their Bible.

Teens today can likely recount the stories of Noah, Moses, Jesus…and so on. However, they view them as simply stories. Rare have the times been when teenagers have been shown how Noah and Moses were more than just individuals living interesting lives. Unfortunately teenagers have little understanding of the themes and messages in the Bible as a whole (scholars may call this ‘literary unity’). Instead most teens emerge into young adulthood with a smattering of stories but no real overarching view of how God has been progressively working in humanity from the beginning.

2. There has been a lack of spiritual parenting within the church.

Who were your spiritual parents? Were they your biological parents? Were they family members of relatives? Were they friends? Who shaped you during your formative years in the faith? Tragically teenagers are given their own pastor, their own room, their own program, their own band, their own life…and passing the faith from generation to generation does not happen as it could.

3. There has been a lack of family emphasis in youth ministry.

Families shape people, not ministries. Parents shape people most, not pastors. Quality youth ministries must engage parents and families as a whole. I must admit that I am not sure how this paradigm will work within many churches; youth pastors tend to be 19-22 years old when they begin…and what 40+ year old would seek parenting advice from them? I can’t say I blame them. As I approach 30 and now have a family of my own I feel like I am just beginning to be able to speak to this aspect of youth ministry. Prior to now I have largely left it untapped. Nevertheless, it remains an important theme of successful youth ministries.

There is much great food for thought in this book; I would recommend it to both parents and teenagers alike. David’s second book on this topic, Before They Say Goodbye, has just been released this year and appears to be as promising as his first!


Good morning folks. Last night at Emergency Ministries & Monkey Barrel we had a great time hanging out together and participating in a Scavenger Hunt! Congrats to the girl’s team who correctly answered all the riddles and located all of the secret stash. I must admit that I am amazed how quickly some of the teams were finished; I thought that if I made it any more difficult we would not be able to finish it in time.

For example, how did you get this one so fast: Start at the old initiation tree from last year. Walk the path towards the most danger until you come to the edge. Turn right. Walk until you see something that reminds you of the city of lost wages. Look up, look waaayyy up until you find a rainbow that is sweet as sugar. Take ONLY ONE and use this item to bribe one of the Clubhouse leaders to let one of your teammates slide down the gigantic water slide.

I thought for sure that would stump a few…

Nevertheless, a great time was had by all. Which brings me to my last point…someone left behind their pink skirt from the Children’s Place. I am sure that there is a perfectly acceptable reason why someone left youth without the skirt that they brought with them last night…and I would love for them to share how it happened… Did you happen to go on the water slide and then…end up wearing your bathing suit home? How does that happen?

In any case, you can reclaim your skirt in the lost and found…right next to the suitcase full of clothes that was left at the Fall Retreat last November that has never been reclaimed. Really, how does THAT happen!

Its been a while since my last post; however, I am now back from vacation and would like to offer congratulations to all of our EDHS graduates of 2011! Last night parents, teachers and graduates gathered together to celebrate the culmination of 14 years of public school education. In the words of the superintendent of the Greater Essex County District School Board (Mr. J. Hillman), “[parents]…you can have them back now”.

A number of students from Emergency Ministries played a role in the graduation. The ceremony began with an excellent rendition of “O Canada” by Taylor Horner, one of our graduates and Emergency Ministries worship team musicians. A poem was ready by Nichole Howson, our resident Epic Book Drive coordinator. Nichole’s thirst for community volunteer activities will be missed within our youth ministry. Also recognized last evening were Michael Sheppart (who plans to…SAVE THE WORLD!!!), Jonathan Howson who will be studying accounting at the University of Windsor and Tiffani Gill-Carew who “does not want to grow up just yet” and so will be returning for just one more year of High School. A number of other individuals who have been associated with our youth ministries over the years were recognized for their academic achievements as well.

You will remember in my Blessing for our Kids post that I encouraged parents to seize significant milestones like graduation and use these occasions to encourage and pray blessings over your children. I was honored to give the invocation at the ceremony last night and I prayed that as the students pursued further knowledge and life experience that they would also “…take time to fill their souls with the giver of abundant life”. I did not say that by accident and I truly pray this for each graduating class.

To all of the graduates in 2011, congrats!!

Good morning folks! Its been a while since I posted but I am sneaking a quick one in this morning before we all get up and get ready for church. Its been almost two days since we have arrived in Halifax for our vacation and it is nice to be ‘home’ for a visit. People always ask what is different about the Maritimes versus Ontario and sometimes I am at a loss because there are so many similarities; however, the first day that we were here two things emerged loud and clear. Here they are.

When traveling through New Brunswick, Benjamin all of a sudden got very quiet and sad in the back seat. We thought that perhaps he was carsick because he looked like he might barf at any moment. So, we pulled off in Sackville, New Brunswick to get him a milkshake from McD’s to help his stomach. I wanted to make these stops as quick as possible so that we did not loose time and so when waiting to make a left turn into McD’s I was annoyed that the oncoming traffic stopped right in front of me. I said to Mandy, “What are these people doing? Just GO so I get into McD’s!”. Then it dawned on me…even though this long line of oncoming traffic clearly had the right of way, they were stopping to let me turn left. That is something I haven’t experienced in a while:)

Neither have I had to stop at crosswalks to allow people to cross in a while; I feel bad for the poor guy on the Armdale Rotary yesterday whom I came to a screeching halt for.

Aside from traffic, I have one additional story. The first night we were here I had to run down to the new Canadian Tire in Tantallon to pick up some child proof doorknob covers so that Ben did not escape from his room in the night and turn Nana and Papa’s house upside down. While I was waiting in line at the cash the two young cashiers were chatting about their upcoming graduation from SJA High School and their fall plans to attend…….Dalhousie Universtiy of course:) And the story gets better…one was commenting that although her average was 92% she still only got a few thousand in scholarships. The other replied saying that a 92% average gets you nothing at Dal because (and I quote), “…all the geniuses go to Dal.” She was implying that all the geniuses at Dal take all the scholarship money away from otherwise great students. I was suddenly quite proud of the Dal grad ring on my right hand and thought about paying with my right hand (as opposed to my left, because I am left handed) just to show off my ring and association with Dalhousie!

I write all of this especially to those from back home in Essex who are graduating from High School this year and will be moving on to other aspirations in life. First, my apologies that none of you (to my knowledge) are going to Dalhousie…that is truly a shame. But then again Ontario has many quality institutions that rank close to  Dalhouise in the annual McLeans ranking.

On a serious note, as you leave Essex High and go off to university, college or the workplace, remember always where you came from. Remember always where you grew up, your family, and your friends. Never get to the place where you think more highly of your accomplishments in life than you ought to and never think that they make you better than those you left behind at home. Everyone has great potential to do great things with their life. It is true that some do not live up to their potential but instead of looking down on them just be thankful that you had the encouragement and support to achieve yours.You will come to cherish ‘home’ as it will be the place you can go no matter how crazy things get and you will find comfort in the familiar faces and the familiar places.

Oh, and if you really want to do something great with your life, go to Dal!