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16-year old youth pastor has a mission

Amy Bergman and Darlene Enns-Dyck of Seeds of Life

May 21, 2002
Winnipeg, Man.- As Director of Outreach & Church Planting for Mennonite Church Canada, Jean Jacques Goulet visits congregations across Canada to listen, learn, encourage, and lead.

On a recent visit to Manitoba, Goulet visited the Seeds of Life congregation in Altona. Seeds of Life is a young congregation that is striving to reach out to their community. There, the congregation shared their vision for ministry to their community. Goulet was especially moved by the story of 16-year old Amy Bergman's and her desire to reach out across the street. Later, Bergman sent Goulet a letter describing in her own words how her ministry developed from a discussion with one of her pastors, Darlene Enns-Dyck:

Hello Jean-Jacques:

Well it's been almost a year since I went up to Darlene and told her that the one thing missing from Seeds of Life was a youth group. There was no Sunday school or youth night and I wanted her to know that there was youth interested! I was in for it when Dar told me that her and Ted had been praying for someone to come with the desire for a youth cell and told me that if I wanted it, I could start it.

My FULL intent was for Dar to run the group!! She said she could gladly mentor me through leadership with the cell but said that she wasn't a youth so how could she relate to them? She said I had leadership gifts and it just made more sense for me to be running it. So after some thought-I asked a couple (of) girls to come to my house to start the Seeds youth. One girl came. But I was ok with it-Dar and me talked and prayed and the next week there were a total of 4 girls. Then 8.

After our summer break we took up again in September and soon there was a max of about 15 girls. We would meet for about 2 hours though sometimes it stretched longer. And now we're almost a year into cell and this is how it looks: about 10 girls come on a regular basis 3 times a month on Sunday evenings. Slowly the girls come and we talk about our week, sports and because it is all girls at the moment, boys, and banquets etc.!!

We start out with a prayer and then spend time catching up on where we are at with God. We sometimes call it our spiritual hi's and lo's though sometimes it is just what's on the person's heart. We worship together some Sundays and the girls really enjoy an activity one of our girls came up with: prayer sisters. We scatter around the house (wherever the family isn't!!) in groups of two and talk and pray and commit to pray for each other throughout the week. Sometimes it's hard, the girls don't feel like talking or are uncomfortable praying, or sometimes I'm not in the mood to lead but my continuing prayer for our group is for the freedom to be open with each other and to the Holy Spirit. But even in those hard times youth cell is an AMAZING blessing.

As we've grown to know each other and become comfortable with each other the girls begin to lead themselves, volunteering prayer, suggesting things to talk about etc. The life, the hunger these girls bring is like water to my soul! I remember when we each took a turn saying a short sentence prayer way back in September, and then the difficulty to remain focused for more than 10 minutes-and just two weeks ago, when one of our cell girls was going through a rough time we spent an entire hour in silent prayer for her and just talking to God. The same girls who couldn't WAIT for snack time! They love to pray!! And they teach me to pray. Dar and myself still meet as often as our schedules allow and we talk through the hard stuff, and reflect on the COUNTLESS blessings.

For some it may seem too different for a 16 year old to be a youth pastor and for my family, and me it was for awhile-but I can't picture youth cell any other way. Some may think it's too much to handle because we deal with some heavy stuff-but myself and Dar and the Seeds community feel that God has his hand on us-and will take us into unimaginable places.

Well Jean! I hope I covered all the bases!! Thank-you again for your encouragement for me and the Seeds youth cell. It is such a huge part of my life and love and I hope that it can become a part of others.

In Christ-
Amy Bergman

Readers can learn more about the Seeds of Life Community Church by visiting their web site at May God's Spirit continue to be poured out on young & old as we reach across the street & around the world.