Dear members and friends of VP,
January proved to be a very exciting month at VP because I believe God was at work to help us build a healthier ministry.
It has been my desire, along with the Christian Education Committee and parents of our youth for the last several years to see a strong youth ministry at VP with a devoted Shepherd. I have advertised a youth ministry position at local seminaries and colleges without being able to attract someone with the experience or a sense of calling to work with our youth.
For filling in during this time, gratitude needs to be expressed to Todd Lavachek, Amy Ayala and many volunteers who have been on rotation in teaching our youth on Sunday mornings. Because of their leadership, I am proud to say we have a wonderful and healthy group of youth at VP.
In December I received an email from a person who wanted to know a bit more about my advertised need for someone to teach, encourage and shepherd youth. Considering this person’s email address I had a sense that I already knew him. As it turned out, this person was Jose Ruiz, otherwise known as Joey, and I have known him for close to ten years. He is the son of Pride Metcalf and Melody Rossi who founded Cloud and Fire Ministry for youth. Cloud and Fire was a ministry designed to help troubled youth complete their High School Diploma. Our beloved youth pastor of the past, Carlos Gomez, ended up being employed as a teacher and shepherd of youth at Cloud and Fire. Several of our members over the last few years have volunteered and or been employed at Cloud and Fire. In a very real sense, Joey has been a part of VP’s extended family.
Joey has spent the last 10 years working in the context of Cloud and Fire’s ministry to youth. He has developed an understanding of youth needs based upon age appropriate mentoring, family dynamics and life experiences. He has been responsible for the last few years for mentoring youth in the context of Cloud and Fire and a local church. He has experience that equips him to shepherd VP youth and develop an outreach to the youth of our community.
In addition, Joey has a strong sense of being called to shepherd youth. He knows this is something he is gifted and equipped to do and he knows it is what he is supposed to do. It is not a job for him. It is what he knows he must do for Jesus Christ. It is what makes life meaningful to him
There is good reason for me to believe that Joey is an answer to our prayers. We now have before us the need to uplift his personal growth and pray for the development of a healthy youth ministry. We must pray for and support him in every way possible. What God has brought together in leadership at VP needs to be nurtured. Joey has responsibility. I have responsibility. The youth have responsibility. The members and friends of VP have responsibility. Together we share a burden for the development of stronger ministries at VP that contribute to the making of disciples.
The heart of a healthy church is every member allowing the Holy Spirit to work through him/her in order to produce something wonderful for the building of a healthy Body of Christ. Joey is now committed not just as a leader at VP but with VP in our calling to build the family of God. Paul writes:
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties ofI Corinthians 12:4-7
ministries,and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
We are a TEAM (Together Embracing A Mission). Each one of us needs to ask ourselves how we are contributing to what God has entrusted to us as a church. The Holy Spirit within us expects to bear fruit for the common good. The common good is the family of God. The family of God is intended to grow not just because of leadership, but because of what every member brings to the table. A healthy family is produced when every member does his/her best for the corporate good. We do ministry together. It is my deep desire that VP will grow in the year to come with the help of Joey, his fiancé Chantal, and every person who loves Jesus Christ and serves His Body. I know it will be the result of our willingness to share responsibility for what God has entrusted to us. To God be the glory!