Stewards of adulthood

youth2
For the past 2 years, Nic Cassar has been the Young Adult Pastor at Dural Baptist Church. He graduated with a Bachelor of Theology from the Wesley Institute in 2009 and has completed a Masters of Teaching at the University of Western Sydney. With Nic’s specialisation in Young Adult Ministry, we asked him how being Mission Shaped impacts his ministry at Dural.

Where is Dural and what are the demographics of the area?

I have often heard people describe Dural as the “White uptown suburb of the Hills”. There may be some truth to this, however a number of residents come from ethnic backgrounds and working class families. Many people commute local to business centres for work and small housing is harder to come by and is often unaffordable, leading to many young adults moving closer to work or university or simply staying at home to save money.

What are the ways that Dural has helped Young Adults (YA) engage in mission and evangelism?

We have a number of mission initiatives for young adults:

  • LTN (Love Thy Neighbour) – A ministry led by YA where teams go to people’s houses in the neighbourhood and service their backyards. At the moment this happens on a six-week cycle and has been going on for over two years now.
  • Many of our YA’s serve in our Friday night youth ministry. Over half of our youth are from unchurched families whilst around a third are from single parent homes.
  • We run a range of short-term mission trips connected to long-term projects of the church. Last year we sent YA teams to Fiji, the Solomon Islands for music ministry, and the Kimberleys. We also send a team of YA’s on a mission awareness trip to Cambodia every two years.
  • Our church runs an indoor sports centre. Many of our young adults serve the community by working and serving in this ministry. Some work in the cafe, others coach and play in the sports teams, and some others have started teaching music in the centre.

We are hoping to increase the role of evangelism in the young adults ministry areas this year. Our Sunday night worship service has started to be more evangelistic presenting the Gospel for both salvation and discipleship. In addition to this we are looking at having a few testimony nights at the local pub or restaurants and trying to think of other creative ways to assists our existing relationships with the unchurched.
We are getting better at providing support for young adults to share their faith through genuine relationships at university, with friends and in the workforce.

In what ways has being Mission Shaped impacted your ministry with Young Adults?

We have developed a number of relationships with people in our neighbourhood through LTN. A single mum, with a son who we were serving two weeks ago, has committed her son to one of our kid’s programmes whilst she engages with the church community. This has come from meeting up and serving her for the last six months.
Our short-term mission trips have had a small number of people from outside the church community participate. As a result, we have seen YAs make commitments to Christ, and another girl who got baptised whilst on the Cambodian trip is now a regular part of our community.

What have been some of the obstacles you have found in seeking to develop a Mission Shaped culture?

The biggest obstacle has been helping our YAs steward the responsibilities of adulthood whilst taking their faith and mission with them. The ‘playing field’ changes a bit once you get a full time job, start a family, and have to pay rent every week.
There is also a strong cultural narrative in our area that says ‘you need to travel and have a gap year, before you go to university, start your career, get married or start a family’. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with these things, our challenge has been getting our young adults to find their security in the Kingdom narrative, which doesn’t always play out like the one our culture paints.

What resources have you found to be helpful in developing a Mission Shaped culture?

Anything from the likes of Tim Keller, Jon Tyson, Mark Sayers or Tim Chester have been really helpful. Also exposing YAs to the lives of some greats of the past like Bonhoeffer, J G Patton, AW Tozer, Moody and others.

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