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1600981_10152432325766443_7308597885797269886_n1I started leading in the youth ministry in the 8th grade as an Impact56 leader, and have been involved in some form of ministry ever since – whether it was Drop Zone, the Rush, or student leading in the Flipside.

But this changed just two weeks ago, when I moved away to college. I’m in a new place with new opportunities to serve, and that’s super exciting, but I’ve got to say I miss Rush Creek. I just came from my college’s Thursday night worship (Outcry) and one of the songs we sang was “They’ll Know 10847882_10152568604516443_4504286743269753448_nWe Are Christians”. I’m sure you know the familiar message – how as Christians we’ll reach the world and everyone will recognize us as Christ followers when they see our love. But as I was singing the song, surrounded by a couple hundred of my new classmates, the lines of the verses struck me. They made me think back on my time serving in the youth ministry of Rush Creek, and realized just how influential it really was on my life.

The song starts off proclaiming that “we are one in the Spirit, we are one 10330476_10152140057356443_4592640233464886920_nin the Lord”. If there was one thing that made my relationships at church stand out from my other friendships, it was this unity in the Lord. This past year alone, I sat out in the freezing rain memorizing Scripture with my 8th grade small group girls, listened to my friends tell of ways they’re boldly sharing their faith, served alongside my peers, heard the girls in my small group tell of their struggles, and been unified with those in the youth ministry through countless other experiences. It’s times like these when things get real – you learn about yourself and you learn about others, and through realizing the beauty in both you see the work of God. I am grateful for the authentic relationships this intentionally developed sense of unity has allowed me to build, and for the way God showcased Himself through all of it.

The next verse of the song begins by stating that “we will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand”. I have had the most amazing Christ followers by my side throughout my entire time being involved in the youth ministry, encouraging me to be confident, share my faith, and love11054324_391589191013989_6481178736294496150_n those around me. I’ve been blessed as I’ve taken the hand of students younger than me and walked through their lives with them, seeing God work within and through them. I’ve seen other student leaders walking with their students and developing their own leadership, while at the same time keeping that connection with their peers. Knowing that you are being continuously supported while at the same time supporting others is truly a wonderful thing. I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to walk hand in hand with other Christians as a part of the youth ministries at Rush Creek.

The final verse starts off by asserting that “we will work with each other, we will work side by side”. And man, did we do work in youth ministry. We served – raked leaves, washed cars, pulled weeds, and met other needs. We worked on ourselves – we developed our leadership, we practiced teaching others, and we deepened our relationships with Christ. But we also worked on others – we lifted them up in prayer, encouraged them, and showed them the love of Jesus. And all of this work has yielded great returns. I personally have grown so much through the investment of10262115_10152432329581443_324333033631804531_n others into my life and even my own investment into other’s lives. I am grateful for all of the work that I took part in while serving at Rush Creek.

I have known the people of Rush Creek to be followers of Christ because of the love I have seen in them. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 says that, “because we loved you so much, we were de
lighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” The members of Rush Creek’s youth ministry have shared their lives with me in wonderful ways, and also enabled me to share my life with others. Serving in the youth ministry was the single most formative part of my life growing up, and I am incredibly grateful for the ways God used the youth ministry to shape me into who I am today, and look forward to hearing of all the ways the ministry will continue to work in the lives of others.

~ Mallory Boyce