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Ian at the Intersection – Bridging Culture Gaps and Building Relationships
December 5, 2012
(By Deanna Dowell)
At the heart of Ian's work as Youth and Family Minister is his desire to connect with people who are searching for Christ.
"As Christians we exist to be the intersection for people searching for Christ," he shares. It's our job to help point the way to Christ."
He is passionate about helping the youth at Lakehoma develop their faith in God from being their parents' faith into being their own faith.
"My main goal here is to get our students thinking about their faith and if it's actually theirs," he explains. "Hopefully by the time any seniors leave Lakehoma, they will know that the faith they have is theirs."
Ian recognizes that one of the challenges for any minister is understanding culture. He remarks, "The culture of today's teens is vastly different from mine, from their parents and from anyone who isn't a teen."
He strives to be aware of what is going on in the lives of teens, both at large and in the congregation. While admitting he may not be able to completely understand everything students are facing, he works hard to build caring relationships that lay a groundwork for understanding.
The family aspect of his ministry includes equipping the members of Lakehoma (whether parents or not) to help students in their journey. He stresses the importance of people and ministries being interconnected.
"I don't believe that student ministry should exist in its own world separate from the church. Students should be taking part in the functions of the church at large, and all members have the option to be involved in the student ministry. In this way, our students get to connect with members with all different kinds of faith stories in the congregation to help them better define their own faith."
He adds, "One of the first things I was told about this congregation was something like, 'Lakehoma has learned that we all don't have to agree by the end of the day, as long as we still love each other.' I have seen this to be true and consider it to be Lakehoma's greatest asset. The love that each member here has for others is very evident, regardless of whether or not they agree on everything."
"There is a culture here that hungers for God's word as much as it hungers to know each other. I think that's incredible."