Here we go again…

It’s that time again! Everyone is back to school. There has been haircuts, new backpacks, topping up on school supplies, and balancing schedules; trying to squeeze in family time wherever possible! It’s a fresh new school year, full of anticipation for what is to come! Maybe your child has begun their final year of school and is planning on hitting the books hard – ensuring a spot in their desired program for university. Maybe it’s their final shot at taking home the championship. Maybe your kids have changed schools because they just started high school and they are worried about making a good first impression. Or perhaps you have a child who has just started Grade 6 and is has just joined us at theUNDERGROUND for the first time!


Well no matter how far along in school your kids are, we are so excited to welcome EVERYONE back to midweek :) We have had a great start to the year and are so excited to be back into the swing of things! Starting back at midweek is almost like New Year’s Eve for us! We have been thinking through what our “New Years’ Resolutions” will be! And we welcome you to join with us in our hopes for this school year. We have taken a good look at our Mission and our Values over the summer, and we want to be more intentional about living and breathing these values, making them part of our DNA instead of a list of ideals. Our Mission is ‘to lead students into a growing and lifelong relationship with Jesus’. This is no easy task! And I would love for all of us to think about that word, ‘lifelong’ for a moment.


Students are in theUNDERGROUND up until Grade 12. We have seven years with your kids (if they go start to finish). But they are with you for life! As parents, you have an incredible opportunity to speak into your kids’ lives. Sometimes they don’t listen, we understand that. In fact, sometimes they find their youth leaders to be some of the smartest people in the world – and all we do is repeat something that you’ve already told them 100 times! But let’s go back to ‘lifelong’ again. We get a brief time with your kids. Our hope is that in that time, we can work with the parents of our students. One of our values is ‘resourced and spiritually engaged parents’. We believe that parents are the primary spiritual influencers in the lives of youth. We want to communicate with, resource and engage parents in the life of the youth ministry. We want to come alongside you and help your kids become lifelong followers of Jesus.


Parents, I want to challenge you with something. I want you to think about all the activities your kids are involved in, and which ones are the highest priority. Have you built in time for them to grow spiritually? Have you set up a culture in your home where hockey practice is more important than homework? What is more likely to happen: your child becomes an NHL prodigy, or graduates university? What if the students in theUNDERGROUND spent as much time with God as they did in any other activity? What if the primary focus for their future was a relationship with Jesus? My challenge is to be intentional. We are intentional about providing kids with a safe space where they can be themselves, learn about Jesus, and grow as a community. And you, as parents, are the most influential part of that spiritual community.


So how do we ensure that this New Years Resolution doesn’t end up flopping a few weeks in? Communication. Involvement. Prayer. We do our very best to communicate and keep you up to date about what’s going on inside the doors of theUNDERGROUND. We have Facebook pages, blog posts, newsletters, etc. Look us up! Say hello :) Let leaders know what’s going on at school or at home, maybe there is a piece of the puzzle that you can provide! Let us celebrate with you, let us grieve with you. We have committed volunteers who have a heart for ministering to your kids, let them be a consistent voice in the lives of your kids. Midweek is a great, intentional time for your kids to be involved in games, small groups, discipleship, and teaching. Ask them what the night was about! And if they can’t tell you – let us know so we can make adjustments :)


Try your best to get your kids on retreats, these a great for building relationships, getting away from life and focusing on Jesus, and for just plain old fun! We understand that it’s not realistic to send every kid, from every family, to every retreat, just know that we are happy to help in any way we can. And lastly, the most important thing you can do as a parent is pray for your kids. Pray for their small group leaders. Pray for their youth coordinators and pastors. Pray for their teachers at school, their coaches, and their friends. There are so many spheres of influence in the life of a student, and we want to remind you that we are on your team! Let’s commit to helping your kids enter a lifelong relationship with Jesus.


– Mark Muller


A week well spent!

City camp team 1

It’s been almost one week since our City Camp Summer Leadership trip ended and in the week that has followed we’ve taken some time to reflect on some of the incredible moments we got to share in as a team. We spent our week serving alongside the Muskoka Woods staff, sharing in leadership development sessions and having fun in community together. As we reflect on the week we can look back and see three key lessons we can take with us.


Through working alongside the Muskoka Woods City Camp Staff we came to understand the value of encouragement. Working at a day camp for one full week gave us all a chance to experience the high demand the counsellors are in. They run activities, plan games, create skits and videos and lead kids through a full and exciting day of camp. We learned first hand that at the end of the day you’re exhausted and one of the greatest ways to regain energy is to know that there is a team of people supporting and encouraging you in your role. Our students spent hours writing beautiful encouragement notes to the entire Muskoka Woods City Camp Staff team. It was a joy to watch how much life it gave our students to encourage those they had been serving alongside and amazing to see how those words of affirmation fuelled the counsellors in their work.


Through our Leadership Development Sessions we learned how to prioritize our own spiritual growth. Over the course of the week we made our way through a few concepts and ideas that held incredible weight in each and every one of our spiritual lives. We learned about our personalities and the way we’re wired, and we learned about how to approach our spiritual gifts with a heart of thankfulness. We talked  about following God’s guidance and the importance of looking retrospectively at the times when we could see God at work in our lives, and we talked about the immense power of our story and seeing God use our lives as living testimonies. Through all those sessions one fundamental truth was clear – We were created to love and be loved.  We put that into practice as we served the Muskoka Woods Staff, our campers and each other, while we wrestled through what God has called us into- a lifelong journey with him.


Through our time together in community we began to understand the importance of investing time into relationships. Our team started out as 21 strangers (a group of students who barely knew one another’s names) to a team at the end of the week who ran to hug one another goodbye, who laughed over shared experiences and who stayed up till the early hours of the morning writing one another notes of encouragement. There was time serving together, time eating together, time leading together, time having fun together – all that invested time allowed us to reap the ultimate profit – friendship. Our team was open, honest, vulnerable and quick to support and encourage when the moment called for it. We came to understand that when you invest in a friendship, when you take time to pour into someone you gain a deeper appreciation for who they are, who they were created to be and who they are in the midst of becoming.


Our week was one of laughter, memories and incredible opportunities to experience growth together in community. We are so thankful for the chance to have made new friends, shared our stories and to see how evidently God is at work in the lives of our students at theUNDERGROUND.


– Kaitlyn Kirkwood

We’re half way there!!!

We are over half way through our Muskoka Woods City Camp Leadership Trip and have been having a blast!! The 20 students from different sites have been paired with one of four cabin groups and have been facilitating the camp activities for the kids at City Camp. The Muskoka Woods City Camp staff are loving having our students working with them and the City Camp kids are having a great time!

Our students arrived on Sunday and jumped straight into work! We spent the afternoon setting up equipment with the Muskoka Woods staff and many hands made for lighter work for all. Our evening was filled with some great time getting to know each other and setting some personal and community goals together.

We have been spending some really intentional time in the evenings in leadership development with our students. So far we have talked through Being real as we hang out and serve together, our different personalities, how to approach our spiritual gifts, our stories and how they can impact others, and listening to Gods guidance in our lives. Its been a real privilege to see our students engaging in these times and getting a deeper grasp on the ways that God has made of each of us intentionally unique, and uses us all in different ways.

Our group has really come together over such a short period of time and we are excited for the rest of the week. We’ve had some great times of fun relaxing at the park, chilling out in front of a movie, enjoying a pool party together, and can’t wait for Aerosports Trampoline Park this evening! The junior leaders have been doing a phenomenal job leading our small groups and demonstrating vulnerability in their discussions. Its been amazing to see them taking the leader and growing so much this week!

Please continue to pray for the students as they continue to interact with the kids at camp and with each other as we finish off our week together!

City Camp is almost here!!!

We are only a few days away from welcoming students from across our sites to the Muskoka Woods City Camp Leadership Trip! We have 20 students that will be joining us this Sunday to serve in Oakville for the week. This is a great opportunity for them to have fun serving kids in the Oakville community, while learning who God has made them to be and exploring their own life story.

During the day, our students will be assisting the Muskoka Woods staff and campers in a variety of camp activities such as; trampoline, laser tag, inflatable slides, and even bubble soccer! Yes! BUBBLE SOCCER!!! Our evenings will be spent together doing some of our own activities and team building exercises, as well as helping students discover various leadership qualities. We have some great things planned for this group! We have even created a special leadership track for some of our older students. Our grade 10s and 11s will have some in depth leadership development that they will practically apply each day by leading small groups of students in grades 7-9. This allows them not only to discover and learn, but apply and share the tools we are helping them develop.

Our goal is that all of our students will step into leadership roles for the upcoming year in theUNDERGROUND, no matter what site they attend! We would appreciate your prayers as we bring these kids together for an incredible opportunity!

CityCamp Leadership Trip – July 2015


This summer we have the exciting opportunity to partner with Muskoka Woods again to host City Camp at our Oakville location. This will be an incredible chance for students to grow in their faith as they learn to serve and lead with other Jr and Sr High students from across all of our Meeting House locations.

We have two main goals for this trip:

Hands-On Serving Opportunities - We have the chance to connect with hundreds of elementary students from the Oakville/Mississauga region and invite them into a relationship with Christ. We will be supporting the Muskoka Woods staff to run a day camp for children who come from a variety of backgrounds, many of whom would have little to no church experience.

Learning to Lead -During this trip we will be facilitating intentional leadership development training through a variety of avenues. They may include: workshops, guest speakers, service projects, team building challenges, and more!

Why Camp in the City?
At the heart of this initiative is a desire to reach into the community with the message and love of Jesus. Muskoka Woods wants to partner with churches as a “living exhibition of life with God” in their neighbourhood.

Who Will Be a Part of the Team?
This trip is a cross-regional experience; which means that we have opened the application process up to all of The Meeting House sites. Students in grade 7 – 12 may apply. This team will be composed of up to 25 students and 6 leaders. If more than 25 students apply, preference will be given to Jr High students as this is their only trip opportunity with The Meeting House.

What Will The Team Do?
During the days, theUNDERGROUND Leadership Team will spend our time working with children from the surrounding cities to facilitate City Camp. We will be serving alongside trained Muskoka Woods staff at the Day Camp, out of the Oakville Site.

The evenings will be spent in various learning opportunities. These projects vary considerably and may include the following: team building, educational materials, serving the marginalized, hands on projects, learning from experienced leaders, etc. We will also participate in musical worship, evening devotional times, and a training from Muskoka Woods staff to increase our overall awareness and leadership skills.

We are offering a leadership development trip for our Jr & Sr High students! This is a cross-regional trip and we’d love to have students from across all of our sites on the team!! The team will be helping with Muskoka Woods “CityCamp” that’s happening at the Oakville location. It’s a daycamp that targets kids who may not have any church background and we’ll be doing some really intentional leadership development with students on the trip. Kids currently in Gr 7 – 12 can apply and we’ll email you all the info as it’s finalized in the next few days!! Let me know if you’d be interested in being part of that trip July 5-10!

Apply today at

theUG Spring Retreat | Anchored in Hope


Jr & Sr High Spring Retreat!

The retreat was amazing with over 430 students & leaders coming out for a great time of fun, learning, worship, community and being reminded that when we are rooted in Christ, we are anchored in hope! Cluster spirit was strong for our game of Shipwrecked and there was plenty of dancing! but the most amazing thing is to see lives changed from our time away together. A student told one of our youth pastors… “I get it. I actually get it. I don’t have to do anything to be enough. I am more than enough because of Jesus and the expression of God’s love for us. I have been made that way. This has changed my life.”
Thanks for entrusting your kids to us for the weekend! We cant wait till we are all together again for our next retreat Nov 27-29!

Cory- our Sr High youth pastor from Oakville, spent some time over the retreat recording a vlog so you can see the ins and outs of what a retreat really looks like!  Watch the retreat vlog here —

Heading Home – Wilmington 2015

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV)

On our second night here in Wilmington, we had the awesome opportunity to have dinner at the home of UrbanPromise Wilmington’s Executive Director, Mr. Rob. He then led us in a devotional surrounding Ephesians 3:14-21… It’s hard to believe that we’re going home tomorrow, but as we reflect back, there are so many examples of the ways those words have been true for this team throughout the week – and that is a beautiful thing.

God has done and is doing immeasurably more this week than any one of us could have ever imagined, and we know that He will continue to do incredible, amazing, Kingdom-building things long after we leave tomorrow. We have definitely been rooted in Christ’s love this week, and our days have been full in every sense of the word. And thinking on the beginning of the verse where it talks about family, it has been such a blessing to be a part of a community that, as one of our team members so eloquently put it , is not just a community, but a family – because of Jesus.

Last night, we had a blast at UrbanPromise’s 4th-12th Grade African/Latin American Speech Contest. Dozens of 4th-12th grade students who are connected to UrbanPromise delivered an original, self-written speech about an influential and inspiring African or Latin American. Many of us on the compassion team have had the privilege of working one-on-one with many of the 4th and 5th graders on their speeches this week, and were honoured and delighted to be invited up to go up on stage with our students for moral support. We were blown away and inspired by their courage, and very impressed with how much they accomplished – from their memorization to their ability to nail last-minute changes that had to be made to their speeches.

Goodbyes have been and will be very hard over the next few hours. Many of us have really connected with the kids at our after-school programs, whether we just met them this week or are reconnecting after past trips. Many of us who have hung out at our after-school programs before have been blown away by the night-and-day growth that we see in the character and leadership of so many of the kids. Others of us have been blown away by how fast we have created connections with the kids we just met and have so quickly been able to deeply love them with Christ’s love and want God’s absolute best for them.


Sledgehammering, Springtime & Speeches – Compassion Trip Update!

Hello from sunny Wilmington! We’re alive, well, and having a fantastic week! We have had vague and slightly shady memories of white stuff falling from the sky as we enjoy the spring weather, love the people around us and love Jesus.

Our days have been [in the words of various members of the team]: full, inspiring, fun, loud, rich, encouraging, joyful, eye-opening, heart-breaking, exciting, groundbreaking [as in one of our work projects literally involved breaking a sidewalk that needs to be replaced at the UrbanPromise school… ;)], adventurous, heart-warming, challenging, straight-up-awesome, and filled to the brim with Jesus.


We’ve spent our mornings sorting thousands of pounds of food at the Food Bank, doing yard work at the UrbanPromise school, and mulching a local park in Wilmington.

After eating lunch, showering at the local YMCA and taking a midday break at the coffee shop across the street, we split off and head to one of UrbanPromise’s four elementary school after-school programs. The stories we hear from both the staff and kids about the families involved with UrbanPromise’s programs are both heart-breaking and hopeful. They are stories of brokenness and restoration – the type of restoration that only the love and hope of Christ can bring.

You’ve probably heard it before, but really believe this – UrbanPromise is making a radical, eternal, and world-shaking difference in the lives of the children they serve and in the city of Wilmington as a whole.

Please keep us in your prayers as we head into the second half of the week, and join us in praying for the UrbanPromise staff, kids and their entire ministry.

Lots of love & see you Saturday evening,

theUG Compassion Team 2015


PS: At the after school camps we’re helping the kids work on their upcoming speeches. We think they’re doing pretty awesome… you?! :)


AIDS Care & Wilmington!

So…. theUNDERGROUND had a goal of collecting 1,500 single bars of laundry soap for AIDS Care. Over the past few weeks we saw tons of amazingly creative ways that students and leaders rallied across all of our sites – small group competitions, dying of hair, painting of people, etc! Across all of our sites we ended up collecting 2,965 bars!!! These are some of the ways we see students learning to live simply so they can give generously – all part of what it means to follow Jesus!


Lots of exciting things are on the horizon! For example, THIS Sunday, March 15 theUNDERGROUND Sr High Compassion Team is leaving for Wilmington, Delaware. The team is made up of 23 students and 8 leaders from across our sites, and we’re heading down to serve alongside the Urban Promise staff – helping at a food bank, painting/spring cleaning, and helping with their kids after school camps!

Please be praying for the team – that this is a faith-shaping experience for each student and leader on the trip and that we’re able to bless the kids and people we’re serving while there!!

Stay tuned for updates on our trip throughout the week!


Parents Night – THIS Friday!


A value we continue to work towards in theUNDERGROUND is resourced and spiritually engaged parents. We believe that parents are the primary spiritual influencers in the lives of youth and we want to communicate with, resource and engage parents in the life of the youth ministry at The Meeting House.

One of the ways we do this is to provide opportunities for parents to come together, to learn from experts (who know more than us!), to ask questions and to know that we are passionate about supporting and encouraging them along the way as they parent their kids! We have one of these great opportunities on Friday night!

This special evening is a double-header for parents!  You will be able to hear and interact with two great international communicators.  Duffy Robbins, Professor of Youth Ministry, Eastern University, St. Davids, PA will be talking about “Getting Inside Their Heads – Understanding the Teenage Mind”.  You will also be able to learn from Ryan Richardson, President and CEO, Media Safe Corporation, Windsor, ON who will be speaking on a critical area, “Saving Face(book) – Being Media Safe Parents in the Digital Age”.

Parents Night |The Meeting House | 2700 Bristol Circle, Oakville
Friday February 20| 7:30-9:45 pm.

On-Line Registration – (Parents Night)
Pre-Register – $10/person and $15/couple
At Door Registration – $15/person and $20/couple

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