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 – www.todaysteens.ca (Parents Night)
Pre-Register – $10/person and $15/couple
At Door Registration – $15/person and $20/couple

All That Jazz was a Hit!

With high attendance and “standing room only” our students raised over $7,000 towards our youth compassion trip over March Break. It was a fantastic night and the room was alive and full of people from all kinds of sites all supporting our youth!! Even our leaders and students from Parry Sound came down in a snowstorm!

Our Sr High Compassion team served throughout the night, welcoming people as they arrived, hanging out with kids in childcare, working behind the scenes in the cafe, serving tables and helping to run the silent auction component! We continue to be excited about what God has in store as we get closer to leaving, just over a month from now! A huge thanks to everyone who supported!
Please continue to be praying for the team as they prepare, and for the staff and kids we’ll be hanging out with at Urban Promise in Wilmington!


Getting Out of Our Comfort Zone: Sr High Compassion Trip & “All that Jazz”!

This past week in theUNDERGROUND we launched a new series called “Out Cold” and talked the idea that being part of God’s mission involves stepping outside of our comfort zones. We are excited about an opportunity some of our students have to experience this in a real and practical way over March break as take a team of 30 students and leaders from across all of our sites to serve with an organization called Urban Promise in Wilmington, DE.

While we are there, theUNDERGROUND Urban Promise Compassion Team will spend approximately half of our time working with children in the Children’s Ministry Programs. We will be serving staff by helping to run classes (Arts & Crafts, Bible, and Recreation) and by leading songs, games, skits and other parts of the program. The remainder of the week will be spent in various physical labor projects. These projects vary considerably and may include the following: light building renovations, building maintenance & landscaping, neighborhood clean-up projects within the city of Wilmington. We will also participate in musical worship with Urban Promise staff, morning and evening devotional times, and a panel discussion with some of the Urban Promise teens, interns, and staff to increase our overall awareness of urban issues.

Support theUG Compassion Team and  join us for an evening of live jazz, specialty coffees and desserts, and silent auction!


Date: Saturday, February 7, 2015
Time: 7:00 pm
Where: Oakville Site | 2700 Bristol Circle, Oakville
Cost: $20 (includes specialty coffees and desserts)
Free childcare is available – see website for more details.

Purchase individual tickets, or a table for 4 or 8. Great event to invite your home church, neighbours or friends!

Tickets are available online at: www.themeetinghouse.com/allthatjazz

December Curriculum in theUNDERGROUND

December Midweek: For the first two weeks of December we’ll be wrapping up our UNBROKEN series – looking at how brokenness invades our lives in may forms. God wants to restore us and make us whole. He makes beautiful things out of our brokenness. We’ll finish the semester with a big Christmas celebration together!


This week! –> Week 1: “What Jesus Says about Sex” – the big idea this week is: Sexuality is something God made as good, but it has been broken. God wants to help us get to a place of wholeness, as we come to understand sexuality. We’ll be looking at the best way to consider sexuality through a Jesus-focused lens and will be encouraging students to:

  • Find trusted spiritual mentors (or parents!) to have conversations with about stuff you struggle with or just questions that you have
  • Consider how your choices, your decisions, your thoughts impact your relationship with Jesus
  • Pray about it. That may feel or sound weird, but God cares about your sexuality. He created you. Have a chat with him.
Week 2: Guys Night / Girls Night – this is an opportunity to gather just as guys, and just as girls, to chat through the struggles we face, do some Q&A with leaders and really look at what it means to become the men and women God created us to be as we learn to follow him.If you have any questions or would like more specifics about what this will look like at your site please always feel free to be in touch with your site youth coordinator! They’d love to connect!
Week 3: Christmas Party!! Connect with your site youth coordinator (or check out your site tab on the website here!) for more details! :)
Sunday Morning Jr High | Adventing
Join us in Jr High on Sunday mornings as we start a new series, “Adventing” and look at the life of Jesus as we head into Christmas. As always, learn more at parents.themeetinghouse.com

Sr High Compassion Trip

 Sr High Compassion Trip with Urban Promise
March Break | March 15 – 21, 2015

Head over to www.themeetinghouse.com/srhighcompassiontrip for more info & to apply!
Students will be learning from and serving alongside Urban Promise staff in Wilmington, DE at children’s after school programs and hands on work projects.

What is the Purpose of a Compassion Trip in theUNDERGROUND?

There are four main reasons that theUNDERGROUND has decided to offer this compassion trip to Wilmington, Delaware with Urban Promise:

Awareness.  We realize that students are aware of the major issues in the world around them such as health issues, poverty, and lack of education, but awareness grows in experience as well.  In a trip such as this, the transition from awareness to the desire for more information on these issues develops quickly – which brings me to the second reason: education.

Education. Our students will be educated through training, by Urban Promise staff, and through experiences in regards to urban issues and how so many people are affected.  This awareness coupled with further education will then lead students to the third reason for this experience: action.

Action. This experience allows students to go beyond simply talking about compassionate living to actually roll up their sleeves and dig right in.  Students will be completely immersed in the culture of urban missions and surrounded by individuals who serve in this capacity on a regular basis.

Transformation.  Our desire is that our students will continue to be transformed in Christ from the inside out and that this experience will help to shape and motivate that process.  Our desire is that our students will help to transform the lives of people who they connect with throughout this experience while they are being transformed themselves.

For more information on compassion at The Meeting House, check out:


What is Urban Promise?

The focus of Urban Promise Wilmington is to be the light of Christ through servant leadership in downtown Wilmington, Delaware.  For full details on this ministry, go to www.urbanpromise.org.

Who Will Be a Part of the Team?

This compassion trip is a cross-regional experience; which means that we have opened the application process up to all of The Meeting House sites. Only students in Grade 9 through 12 may apply (there will be no exceptions).  This team will be composed of up to 40 students and 10 leaders.

What Will The Team Do?

While we are there, theUNDERGROUND Urban Promise Compassion Team will spend approximately half of our time working with children in the Children’s Ministry Programs. We will be serving staff by helping to run classes (Arts & Crafts, Bible, and Recreation) and by leading songs, games, skits and other parts of the program.

The remainder of the week will be spent in various physical labor projects. These projects vary considerably and may include the following: light building renovations, building maintenance & landscaping, neighborhood clean-up projects within the city of Wilmington. We will also participate in musical worship with Urban Promise staff, morning and evening devotional times, and a panel discussion with some of the Urban Promise teens, interns, and staff to increase our overall awareness of urban issues.

Head over to www.themeetinghouse.com/srhighcompassiontrip for more info & to apply!

Movie Night – This Week!
Unbroken: Week 3 | “To Save a Life”

tosavealifesqOur current series, “Unbroken” is about how brokenness invades our lives in many forms and how God wants to restore us and make us whole. We’ve been encouraged by the conversations our students and leaders have been having already.

As mentioned in this month’s newsletter,  as part of this series we are going to be watching “To Save A Life”. Check out the Trailer here.
The movie addresses some difficult, but very real topics that students do face at school, home and in their friendship circles, from a Christian perspective and we want theUNDERGROUND to be a safe place to talk about these things. The movie was written by a youth pastor, was targeted to the Christian community, and has come recommended to us by parents who are encouraging us to be having this conversation. That being said, we do also want to be very aware that they are intense topics and some parents may not be comfortable with their students watching the movie at this point and we totally understand and respect that fully.

*Junior High Parents – this movie does include some heavier subject matter, including high school parties, suicide, teenage pregnancy. It is done through a Christian lens and you can check out the Plugged-In movie review by Focus on the Family here.

The hope is to continue the conversation and help students ask questions and process through the rest of this series. Next week we’re looking forward to a panel discussion and are thankful for the amazing leaders we have who are committed to journeying with our students.

As you engage with your kids about some of these difficult topics, we want to be a support and resource to you as much as possible. A great spot for articles and resources is the Center for Parent & Youth Understanding –  http://www.cpyu.org/resources/

If we can serve you as a family in any way please don’t hesitate to be in touch!


theUNDERGROUND Fall Retreat is just around the corner and we couldn’t be more excited!! There is something so significant about retreats. They leave a lasting impact in so many ways – from friendships formed while taking the bus up, memories made while exploring nature and playing ridiculous games, to significant life-change that comes out of moments of reflection, teaching, worship and intentional discussion with trusted leaders and friends.

There are a ton of fun elements in store for this fall retreat!

  • A ridiculous amount of candy – we know it’s Halloween weekend… my theory is that candy is made @ Muskoka Woods! ;)
  • Fall Fair on Saturday afternoon – complete with cotton candy, games, pumpkin decorating, caramel apples & more!
  • Masquerade Ball theme dinner on Saturday – a chance to dress up & have fun together over a meal!
  • Star Search site competition & dance party!
  • Fantastic indoor & outdoor ‘options’ on Saturday too – skate park, climbing wall, giant games, etc!
  • So much more – you’ll have to ask your kids when they come home!

Alongside that, we are excited about what we’ll be talking about throughout the weekend. Our theme is “Unmasked”. We recognize that students these days are faced with pressures and expectations around who they are “supposed” to be, how they’re meant to act, dress, etc. In the world we live in, it can be so easy to put on masks, to present who we think others want us to be, instead of really discovering and embracing our identity in Christ. That’s what we’re going to be exploring together over this weekend – the masks we wear, and what it might look like to be vulnerable, to remove the masks and live in the identity God has given us as His children. We’re excited to have Chris Tompkins as our guest speaker on the Saturday evening!

Our hope and prayer is that every student comes away from this retreat having had an incredible time, with fun stories to share, knowing they are loved and having had the opportunity to take a step closer in their relationship with God.

You can register for the retreat @ http://www.themeetinghouse.com/youthretreat and friends are always welcome!!

Please be in touch with your site youth coordinator if you have any questions at all. We can’t wait!! :)

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