By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – An evening of music, drama, testimonies, and Jesus is planned for Saturday night at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. Impact Youth Ministries, a branch of Morinville Christian Fellowship, will be holding a Youth Rally Mar. 10 from 7 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.
“We just want to gather up the young people and envision them for God’s purposes for their life and that sort of thing,” said organizer Pastor Peter Visscher, adding the reason they are putting on the rally is because they are passionate about the community’s youth and making them aware that God has a plan for them. “We like to have a lot of fun, but more importantly we are concerned that kids understand that God created them, God saved them, and God has real purposes for their lives.”
Impact Youth Ministry has gained a reputation in Morinville working with youth and providing them a safe and welcoming place to spend their Friday nights. The ministry holds weekly Friday night events at their St. Andrews Centre location in Morinville’s west end. Their regular Soul Café evenings are well attended events allowing community youth an opportunity to perform and hear performers. But while the door is open to all youth, there is a message.
“Impact Youth is not just a club or an extra-curricular activity,” Visscher said. “It’s a ministry dedicated towards serving God’s mission, which inevitably involves seeing youth in our community served and empowering them to serve.”
The pastor said this week’s Youth Rally has two primary purposes: communicating salvation and communicating vision. “[It’s] the idea that accepting God’s salvation, revealed through His son Jesus, will ultimately give a young person the best kind of vision for their life,” Visscher said, adding it is his belief that a relationship with Jesus can energize youth and help them in all of their goals in life.
But while the Mar. 10 Youth Rally is unapologetically Christian in nature and presented by a group of dedicated people of faith who are comfortable and confident in what they believe, Impact is opening the doors and their arms to all youth in the community, just as they do each and every Friday night with their youth group.
“There’s a lot of kids that don’t want to be there and until they really catch a vision for what we do, it’s not going to happen,” Visscher said, adding he has many youth attending the Friday evening gatherings that are not ready to give up the way they are living their lives to embrace a life of faith. “It’s actually kind of cool that they are so dead set on what they want to do. They’re not wishy washy and in the middle.” The pastor said he is not there to judge; rather his youth group accepts the community’s youth no matter where they are on life’s road. “If you want to come, just come. It’s an open door. I’ll give anyone a big hug and a high five and say, ‘come on in,” Visscher said. “We’re not going to make anyone feel awkward. We’re not going to judge. Nobody’s going to feel put down or put out.”
Visscher said that same approach will be taken Saturday night when the Youth Rally comes to the Community Cultural Centre.
The keynote speaker for the Youth Rally is Matt Sampson, a man who worked with Morinville Christian Fellowship’s youth group some years back, and a man for whom Pastor Visscher has a great deal of respect.
“He has an incredible testimony,” Visccher said of Sampson. “He had a major drug addiction through high school and that kind of thing. It just devastated his life.” The pastor said Sampson was taken in by a pastor from Kelowna who showed him what it is to be a Christian. “Just the passion and the fervor that comes from Matt based on what he came from; I think kids are really going to experience that.”
In addition to Sampson’s presentation, the Youth Rally will have other testimonies, dramatic presentations and plenty of music. The pastor said the rally is intended for youth aged 12 to 18; however, parents with younger children are more than welcome to attend the event.
The Impact Youth Rally takes place Mar. 10 at 7 p.m. There is no admission cost for the event.