Tonight my wife had the idea to get some Dairy Queen blizzards…if you know me than you know my weakness is DAIRY QUEEN BLIZZARDS! As I went out tonight I drove by the recreation center in Waupaca and saw the ocean of teens swarming this place to play sport, hangout, get in trouble . I got a little sentimental at this point because of my roots in Waupaca and this is the place I began to do outreach in my youth pastor days.
In 2003 I was asked to come to Radiant Fellowship to be a part of this new church plant. From December 2003 until May of 2004 I commuted to Waupaca every weekend (4 hour drive round-trip). Tracy and I would do church in the morning and than in the evening have youth group (Epicenter Student Ministry). One of the first things God led me to do was find out where the teens in this city hang out. If you are familiar with Waupaca than you know back then they hung out at “The Armory” on Friday and Saturday nights. We got together with the 5 or 6 teens in our youth group and said, “We need to be there and tell them about this new youth group!” I loved the response of the teens…some were happy and others were freaked because that is where “Those kids” hang out. The first night we went I had 120 cans of Mt. Dew with youth group invites attached to them. We pulled up to the place, cranked the car stereo, opened the back of the car and within MINUTES we gave away all of the Mt. Dew and invites. After a few weeks of doing this I along with my wife could walk into this hangout on any given weekend and be accepted by this group. It got to the point people missed us if we didn’t show up. We always had Mt. Dew with us and really just began to talk and listen to this group of 100+ teens just hanging out, playing sports, smoking and sometimes you would catch a waft of pot through the air. WE WERE DOING MINISTRY!
After about 6 months of doing youth ministry we saw the youth group grow to 25+ regulars at youth group and 90+ at the outreaches we hosted (concerts, dodge-ball tournament, basketball tournaments, Lan-Parties).
This place is an untapped resource by churches that Radiant Fellowship reached out to and no one since. I think God just moved on my heart once again….hmmmmm.