An Open Letter To the Youth of MVCC: Be Involved

To the Students of Mountain View Community Church:

As I look forward to this summer of serving you as intern, I have become incredibly retrospective. I remember when I was in your shoes. I remember when I was a student attending SOS. Or more accurately, I remember when I was a student who never attended SOS.

Looking back on my time in high school, I don’t regret skipping this party or not dating that boy. I don’t regret not buying the newest jeans or not having the nicest phone.  I don’t regret not sitting at the best lunch table or even that time I didn’t study and consequently failed a test. I don’t regret not wearing name brand clothing or deciding to shop on the clearance rack. To be honest, I don’t really remember or care about any of those things anymore. But I do remember my time spent inside the walls of Mountain View Community Church, and I wish that there had been more of it. There is nothing that I miss more. And there is nothing that I regret more than waiting until the end of my junior year to get involved in SOS.

If I could offer you one piece of wisdom as we start this summer of doing life together, it would be to get involved. And once you get involved, stay involved.

  • No date is worth skipping SOS for.
  • No dance is worth skipping the Fall Retreat for.
  • No late night party is worth skipping Sunday morning church for.
  • No school friend group is worth compromising a relationship with your small group.
  • No trip to Ocean City is worth skipping out on a summer missions trip.

I think back to when I was a junior, when a senior asked me to homecoming. I had never been to a high school dance before, and I was excited to be going with him. I got to dress up, someone did my hair, and I bought all new jewelry to match my new dress and my new shoes. He came to my front porch, shook hands with my dad, and together, we went to Homecoming. During the first slow dance that night, the boy who took me to my first dance became my first boyfriend. He was a swimmer, and I felt safe in his swimmer arms. He was applying at (and later accepted into) one of the most prestigious universities in the nation. He graduated with a 4.7 GPA, and he made me feel like I was the only girl in the world.

10 weeks later, the relationship ended in fireball fashion, and we have had little communication since.

During my two month long relationship, my excuse for not going to SOS was that I needed to see him. I worked and he was very busy, so Sunday nights were the “only” chance we got to spend time together (we went to the same high school and lived in the same neighborhood, so I saw him all the time). Now, over three years later, I look back on that relationship with regret. Not because he wasn’t a good guy, because he was. I don’t regret dating him, but I do regret what I let him keep me from. When I look back on that time of my life, I don’t remember the movies we watched together, our conversations, or even what we did on those Sunday nights. Looking back, I only see missed opportunities. I didn’t go to the Fall Retreat so he could take me to homecoming. I didn’t go to SOS so I could see him. But you see, those things were not his fault, or his decisions. They were mine.

I didn’t know it was possible to forget the things you experienced and remember the ones you didn’t, but it is. Three years later, it is not him who I miss, but rather, with all of my heart, I miss the missed opportunities.

Learn from my mistakes, and yes, they were mistakes. I’m not asking you not to date in high school (though I could make a compelling case for this). But I am begging you not to let those you date, the sports you play, the jobs you work, or the activities that you are involved in keep you from what really matters.

I graduated two years ago. When I come home from college, it is not my ex boyfriend who I want to see. My high school friends (with the exception of a very small minority) are not even in my contact list anymore. But those friends I met at church? Those are the durable relationships. The ones that last. When I am having a bad day, they are the ones I call. When I fantasize about my wedding day, it is them who I envision standing beside me as I say “I do”.

Now, two years removed, it is SOS that I miss most about high school. But you are still in high school. Take advantage of it. Every time the PIT doors are open, you better be there. Because when you are there,

  • Jesus is Life
  • Everyone is Welcome
  • Relationships are Crucial
  • Students are Celebrated
  • Love Compels us
  • Anything is Possible

If you are looking for a safe, fun, God-honoring atmosphere, there is no place better than SOS. Pastor Steve has made sure of that.

  • If you just graduated: you have one summer left. Make the most of it.
  • If you are just starting high school, start it off right. Start it with the people who will be there for you when you graduate, and who will still be with you long after.
  • For everyone in between, stay involved. If you aren’t involved, get involved.

And now that we have established that you will indeed be involved, I can say I can’t wait to get to know you,

All of my love,

your summer intern,

~Ellen

2 Comments on “An Open Letter To the Youth of MVCC: Be Involved

  1. Thank u Ellen for taking time to share what you have learned on your own journey. Love ur writing as always

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