Chicago, Chicago, Chicago
I won't give you the details of the trip again. Long ride Saturday, Sunday service at Bill's home church, Sunday night at a "local church". Monday in Gary, IN doing drama and worship on the street corner. Tuesday we drove to Chicago, passed out flyers, served in a soup kitchen, and witnessed to the homeless in downtown Chicago; crazy day. Wednesday was a free day, we saw the "above ground" part of downtown Chicago. Thursday we worked in a food distribution warehouse and visited one of the largest churches in the country. Friday was a worship service in Portage, IN; our team was blessed. Saturday was a travel day. Sunday was another great service, this time in Winchester, KY.
That's a lot in one paragraph, huh? Well it was a lot in one week. I aggressively (stupidly?) booked two trips at once. An inner city missions trip, and a worship service/ministry trip. We've mostly focused on the missions aspect, but I'm going to share the worship service side.
The opening Sunday service was at the church I grew up in. To me it was the "new" building. To everyone in Mishawaka, Indiana it's just the church. A church full of people I didn't know, but who knew me. I left for college in 1995 and haven't lived in Mishawaka, IN since (except a couple summers through college). So it was a chance to see family, some old friends, but mostly to minister to people I didn't know. This was the only time on the trip that I preached. I spoke about God always being there.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, [ a] you are there
- Psalm. 139:8,9
Many folks were encouraged by the message and the teens ministry in music and drama. I mentioned something about finishing what we start. "If God put a work on your heart a decade ago and you've rebelled against the call now is the time for restoration of vision," I said. A woman came to me after service and said that God had spoken to her a decade ago to start an orphanage. She was trained, had the means, was a fit for this calling, but had become consumed by the work-a-day-world. She received restoration of the vision that day.
The second Church had a water main break a month before our arrival. They offered to cancel, saying that we could get a better offering elsewhere. I told them we weren't there for an offering. The church was changing the focus of their Sunday night service to a youth service, and we were to kick it off. The church was packed with youth and supportive adults. We did one of the "youthiest" music sets of the trip that night. I did not preach, but our students spoke the word with boldness and testified. The youth group at the local church was united in the altars. And by-the-way the church blessed us with an excellent offering.
On the return trip we held two worship services. The first was Friday night at Pastor Chad Muncy's church in Portage, IN. He's an old friend of mine and has spoken at our church. His whole district gathered for worship. The Holy Spirit moved in an amazing way in that service. Many of our students were blessed in ways that only they can tell. The testimonies of God's work were amazing, lives were changed and intercessory prayer for needs in the lives of teens were offered up. Pastor Chad called someone up to pray over the teens for : addiction, broken homes, cutting/depression, and other needs. Each one who prayed had been delivered from the bondage of what they prayed against. Awesome testimonies are still coming out from this night. As we tried to minister to others, God ministered to us.
The final service was Sunday morning the day we returned. Our teens were able to teach the high school Sunday school class and everyone shared their stories. As in all the services the drama team did an amazing job, especially as they actually had a big stage to work with! The local teens were in awe, and the stories from Chicago touched the whole congregation. The teens at the local church were inspired. One of them is adding our team on "facebook"! It became very apparent how much influence our team had on their lives. I am convinced that Consumed Student Ministries is a force to be reckoned with!