In the Local Congregation

Ministry is hard. We knew this as we began our parish building journey, but what we didn’t know was just how hard it would be. When we started ministry at Christ Community Church in Hagerstown, Md., we had a constant change in the size of our youth group. This was hard for us to experience, because we had moved across the country to build up the youth group. When only three kids came on a regular basis it was hard to see why God moved us out here.  

Despite the small group that we are working with, God has been showing us that our plans are not His plans. We’ve come to realize that under these unique circumstances the size of our group allows us to pour into our kids on a deeper level than what we believe we could have done had our group been larger.  

God was so good to us as we searched for a book or curriculum to walk through with our group. Currently every member of our youth group is a girl, which allows us to be vulnerable and open with each of them and let them know that we struggle, too. Now we are working through a devotional book called One Hundred Days To Brave. The devotional helps readers understand that life is full of struggles, but it also gives readers tools to combat these struggles with Scripture. We have seen the impact of using Scripture in our lives and are praying for the same for our girls.  

The smallness of our group also allows us to go out and have fun. Whether it’s bowling, going to a trampoline park, or just getting ice cream, we can all fit in one car and just go. These may seem like small victories or insignificant details, but they are huge in our eyes. We see over and over again how great God has blessed us in this way.  

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). 

Moriah Graham, Calamus, Iowa, and Jessica Nikunen, Watertown, Minn. [both AFLBS 2017], are parish builders working at Christ Community Church in Hagerstown, Md. 

This article first appeared in Kinship Magazine, Fall 2018 Edition.

Kinship is a magazine of the Free Lutheran Schools. Stay up to date on latest news, student stories, classroom highlights, and fun tidbits about life on the AFLBS and AFLTS campus.

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