We have a new youth pastor at our church. He started in August. It is such a blessing and the culmination of a two year journey of preparing the church for a change in role and finding the right person to fill that role. It is a process that is near to our family's heart, because German was on the search committee. The last weekend in January, the church set aside a time for a formal induction for the youth pastor.
I don't know that I have ever attended an induction ceremony before. I know that I have never experienced anything like this. The afternoon started with praise. And praise was dotted throughout the service. The band sounded awesome as they led the congregation in "Blessed Be The Name", "There is a New Song in My Heart", "These are the Days of Elijah" and many more. It was a delight for me to watch Flower and Jewel clap and sway and even lift their hands occassionally--caught up in the worship.
After praise, German gave a short spiel of how the church had come to this moment. Then the new youth pastor spoke of how God had led him to this point. Then the promises were made. The youth pastor was asked to make promises regarding keeping his relationship with God fresh, allowing God to lead him, and being a solid example for our young people to grow them in Christ. Then the pastor was asked to join them for what, for me, was the most poignant part of the service. The pastor and the youth pastor were asked to make promises before God to work together, to pray together and for each other and to lead the church as a team. It was awesome to see these men of God formally join their ministries together. After that the church membership was asked to stand and to pledge our support to the youth pastor's leading. Finally the entire congregation of church members, families and friends were asked to stand and pledge their/our prayer support for him as he seeks to serve. It was an incredibly touching time of joining together and vowing together to serve. This was followed by praying for him and anyone who wished could voice prayer and lay hands on him setting him aside for this ministry. The formal service ended with an awesome sermon on the equipping of the saints. It was brought by the youth pastor's former pastor who had travelled from North Carolina to England to be a part of the day. And it was amazing.
After the induction service, the congregation joined downstairs for a fellowship dinner. We are a little church of approximately 150. The catering team catered for 200+. The meal was wonderful. The fellowship was great. Then it was back home for a couple hours rest.
That evening we were back at the church for a ceidhl celebration. This was only fitting since the youth pastor and the pastor are both Scottish. The Scots all came in their kilts. Everyone wore tartan--if only a ribbon. And we danced and laughed and had an awesome time. Over 100 people were on the floor dancing most of the night--so it was crowded but joyful. Being raised Southern Baptist, I still wonder at the fact that we can dance in the church. But dance I did. Couldn't miss out on the fun. Here are a few pics from the ceidhl including one of Jewel dancing with German.
Through the whole weekend I was amazed at how much fun the people of God can have together: in worship, in solemn promises, in message, in eating together and in celebration. It was a marvelous time. So why do we portray to the world that Christianity isn't fun? Where did that notion come from? Even in the solemness of pledges my heart was soaring. I pray that I will learn to show that side of my Christianity to the world. I pray that those around will see God as a God of celebration who loves the joy that His people bring. I pray that all of my celebrating is a sweet song in the ear of my Lord and a welcoming embrace to those who need to know Him. Blessings to you today!