Report by Benson Duong, Youth Associate Pastor
2017 was a year of many firsts for my ministry at Agincourt and I believe that to be a good thing. This year, I have had the opportunity to be a part of many new initiatives to serve our local community. Some such initiatives included: Snack Attack, Out of the Cold and our Kwasind partnership. These exciting new programs allowed us to get involved and serve our community in new ways. While we introduced these new programs, we also devoted time and effort to our existing programs with the hope of bringing consistency and moving them towards sustainability. Overall, I believe as a church we served, engaged, and shared Christ with our community in new ways.
Since I started coming to Agincourt eight years ago, the church has always attended CBOQ’s winter youth retreat Blizzard. This year over 300 youth gathered at Muskoka Woods Sports Resort for engaging worship, relevant learning and fun. The band Life Support led worship and Dallas and Leanne Friesen (CBOQ pastors) taught the youth about what it meant to be rooted in Christ.
Today’s Teens Conference
In late February, Matt, Sunjay and I attended Today’s Teens Conference at the Meeting House in Oakville. This conference centered around equipping youth leaders for ministry. It provided excellent training, with various speakers and a plethora of breakout sessions.
In late April, we attended Youth Unlimited’s Breakthrough Conference for the first time. We sent five girls to an exclusive junior high girls conference held in Stouffville. It was a very impactful and moving time for the girls and it created a unique and powerful environment for learning, sharing and fellowship.
Kwasind Teen Week
This year we saw a new and vibrant partnership with Camp Kwasind a CBOQ camp in the Muskoka’s. In late August, we sent three youth to Kwasind, two of which were from the local community and had never been to camp before. This week-long experience gave them the opportunity learn more about Jesus, experience the beauty of the Muskokas and further connect with our church. All three have expressed an interest in attending again next year.
We partnered with Markham Baptist, Immanuel Baptist and Lorne Park Baptist and took our youth to Camp Kwasind for a fall retreat in September. Between the four churches we had over 40 youth spend a weekend worshipping, learning and connecting. Matt Martin led us through what it means for Jesus to be the Way, Truth and Life.
Trick or Treat for Hope
In partnership with Snack Attack our youth participated in Trick or Treat for Hope for the second year in a row. We collected non-perishable food during the Halloween season for those less fortunate than us. Learning from last year, we had much more success in promoting the event and mobilising youth this time. One particular highlight was the amount of engagement, support and exposure that the event had with people in our immediate community.
Out of the Cold
This year our church partnered with Out of the Cold and served the homeless in the Agincourt community. The youth got involved by putting together over 20 packed lunches and visiting the site.
Friday Night Youth
We consistently ran our Friday Night Youth every week this year. Our program ran from 7pm to 9:30pm and we provided snacks, played games and met for bible study. We used curriculum provided by CBOQ and Live Curriculum by Group. This year we consistently had an attendance of over 10 students from grade 6 to 12.
After the successful test run of Snack Attack last year, we decided to move ahead with integrating Snack Attack fully into the youth ministry. Every week we serve over sixty students from three local schools in our community. We provide them with a snack after school and often dialogue with them about life and faith. This ministry acts as our primary form of outreach to local youth and, as such, we have seen much success in connecting youth to our Friday Night ministry through this program.
In connection with Snack Attack Youth, this year we ran a program called Impact where we provided trips to Teen Week at Camp Kwasind for youth. This gave them the opportunity to participate and work alongside us throughout the summer. This year we sponsored two youth to attend camp.