The unity among the Remnant Fellowship Church youth group is incredible! Watch this video to see footage from the “Youth Rush,” a wonderfully fun idea from Gwen Shamblin that ushered the 13 year olds into the youth group with so much joy! Also, be sure to read the following article by Alex Rickman to get an inside look at Youth Rush from a “BIG” perspective.
In Acts chapter 2, Peter addressed the crowd gathered at a time that we have come to know as PENTECOST. As he poured out his heart and the Spirit-led words given to him by God, he told the people to repent and be baptized…and THEN they would receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit! This Remnant Fellowship Church has emulated what Peter talked about for many years. This is a time of DEDICATION and COMMITMENT! So…during our Pentecost celebration each year, we feature the dedication of Babies, confirmation of our Youth, and the baptizing of Saints whose hearts are ready to live for God and want to proclaim that PUBLICLY. For Pentecost 2016, there was a big emphasis on the YOUTH. All 13 year-olds (some 12, some 14) are confirmed during this special time each year.
What is “confirmation?” In a nutshell, it means that this is the age when you start to take on even more responsibility for yourself. This is an age when this pure message of True Christianity moves beyond being “your parent’s religion,” and it becomes YOUR religion…YOUR heart…YOUR devotion to GOD instead. Confirmation is your statement in front of the Church that you are deciding to live for God. It is somewhat a rite of passage, if you will, into the Youth Group. This was the biggest and most exciting decision that I made in my life, which was almost FOUR years ago!
Now, in 2016, a new element has been added to Pentecost, and specifically to Confirmation. It’s called “YOUTH RUSH!!!” Every single person who gets confirmed, in town and out of town, inherits a BIG brother or BIG sister. I have the amazing privilege of being a BIG sister. The BIGs are essentially teenagers that have been through confirmation and have decided to live for God but get to help the new youth through any testing, and to help teach them the ropes. It serves as a welcome into the youth group. Everyone who is getting confirmed is secretly assigned two BIGs and a grand BIG. A grand BIG is typically a youth leader and is there to help the BIGs and LITTLEs with any questions they have and to serve kind of as a parent. They have more wisdom if it’s necessary.
Now the thirteen year olds do not know about any of this and it’s all done in secret a few months before Pentecost. The kids get to find out who their BIGs are on the day of Pentecost. A lot of planning goes into this process of “rushing” the youth. Jessica Walters and a big team head up the entire thing, and they decide who should be with whom. The decisions are based on similar gifts, tests, and other things. After this was all finalized a whatsapp message was sent that stated that all BIGs were to receive an email that included who our LITTLEs are and a survey that their parents filled out containing little facts about them. I eagerly awaited the arrival of my email and constantly refreshed my mail to see if a little blue bubble would pop up. Finally, after almost 24 hours of anticipation, I heard a notification, a slight ding in my pocket. This ding signified that I had just been sent an email. An email!!! I had almost forgotten what I was waiting for. I quickly opened up my phone up to the mail app and right there, in big bold letters was Jessica Walters name.
This is it. The moment I had been waiting for. I tapped the message and read the email faster than my brain could register. I almost fainted of excitement and could not wait for Pentecost to come. I finally knew who my LITTLE was. I studied and memorized everything about her and quickly texted her other BIG and grand BIG to establish a game plan. At this very same time every other BIGs was doing the same thing I was and the LITTLEs had no idea about any of it until the day of Pentecost when they were finally confirmed. The best part is the fact that the parents were in on it and kept everything a secret.
I had way too much fun when we got to decorate the LITTLEs rooms. There were posters, balloons, confetti, streamers and the new RF Youth t-shirt was there waiting in their room for them. The secret decorating was so that when they walked in and read their letters and welcome signs, they would know whom their BIGs were and know that being in the official youth group was going to be fun. It was definitely exciting to decorate. Although watching the videos of the LITTLEs walking into their newly decorated room THAT was probably my favorite part. The joy in their eyes and the fact that they had no expectations of what was happening and what was going to happen. Talk about convicting… It made me so excited to get to know everyone better and grow stronger as a youth group.
I cannot wait to see what this year is like and to watch everyone further their relationships with God. I know that if it wasn’t for Gwen Shamblin and her leading there would never be something as amazing as this, let alone this wonderful church and body of people. I am in awe and honored that I get to grow up here and be a part of this. I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is where I want to be. And I am so glad and eternally grateful that I made that decision four years ago at Pentecost.