Reblogged from: Herald Magazine’s “Connect | Engage | Inspire”
by Matthew Swain and Michael Whone
Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Several Canadian congregations in the greater Toronto area saw a need to provide young adults with greater ministry and congregational relevance. They came up with a solution of MEGA proportions.
They decided to hold a young-adult weekend to foster relationships between young adults and pastors. Matthew Swain, pastor of the Barrie Congregation in Ontario, said he sensed an overwhelming desire of Canadian churches to see more young adults active in congregational life.
“The present reality is that it has become more difficult for traditional congregations to appeal to young adults,” he said. “In some cases, both groups have given up on interacting with the other out of frustration.” So last November young adults and pastors from all over the Canada East Mission Centre gathered to discuss ministry and mission while sharing in fellowship with the Toronto congregations.
This wasn’t the first MEGA (Make Everyday a Great Adventure) weekend for young adults. But it was the first time organizers purposely invited pastors. Planners set the weekend to allow young adults to come from all across Ontario without the burdens of expensive lodging or buying food.
The planning team reduced costs by holding all activities in church buildings. Natalie, a newcomer, admitted she “didn’t leave the church all weekend and still had fun!” Families in the Toronto area brought in food, and a historic church building in downtown Toronto provided sleeping quarters.
Giving time to do community service has become a life-changing ingredient in MEGA weekends. In preparation for this year’s service project, the organizers received a large bunch of new, factory-rejected winter coats. The group repaired the coats and then gave them to shelters.
On Saturday night, participants formed small groups and discussed issues of faith, mission, and community. Guest minister Kris Judd passionately guided the conversation to include what it means to be a community of faith in Canada today.
As pastors listened and offered prayers, the young adults shared the final question: “What are some of the spiritual or religious difficulties you are going through right now?” Concerns included everything from people worrying about being a Christian while questioning faith to being frustrated about not having a consistent church home.
Bryce Huffman shared a bold, powerful statement as the Call to Worship in the final service Sunday morning: “We come from many different walks of life at various stages in our spiritual journey. We come together as one community with different struggles and different points of view. As children of the Living God, we come together…to praise the One who gives us life and breath.”
Perhaps Scarborough Pastor David Donoghue best summarized the comments of other pastors. “It was spiritual! It was dynamic! It was fun! It was great to see younger and older adults working, worshiping, and celebrating in church for three days straight!”