UCA Church Members Lead By Example
Nearly two years ago, the Upper Columbia Academy Adventist Church changed its mission statement. Being serious about integrating and developing students from the academy, they wanted a clear statement to support their intent. That statement now says, "As a church family we are called by God to mentor children and youth to have a personal, life-long relationship with Jesus, expressing itself through service."
During UCA registration this year, members of the campus church dressed in bright yellow shirts, emblazoned with the words "We-Haul," helped students and their parents haul belongings into the dorms as part of an outreach program.
The congregation has also committed to "adopting" all new students this year, a pledge that compliments the Prayer Patch program run by the academy. In both instances, students are matched with volunteers who agree to lift them up in prayer every day, supporting them throughout the school year.
The first church service of the school year focused on service as a part of worship. It included a time for students to talk with members serving in various capacities and an invitation to be a part of all that goes on. As a result, a recent deaconess meeting included seven students who want to be involved; 6–10 want to work in Cradle Roll Sabbath School; 3–4 are interested in serving as elders; and 6–8 want to be deacons.
"We want to support them in their academy experience," says Ken Wetmore, UCA Church pastor. "But even more, we want them to understand that church isn't all about us as individuals — it's about service. We want them to ask, ‘How can I serve? What can I give back?'" It's a lesson that can't be taught without the church family leading by example.