ConGRADulations! Gift – A YouthWorker’s Story
Editor’s note: For years youth leaders have been honoring their graduates with ConGRADulations! Many of you received ConGRADulations! as a student and are now giving it to your seniors. Here’s the story of one such youth leader and now lead pastor – Nathan Ensz, Kingwood Bible Church, Salem, Oregon.
Nineteen-ninety-six. Now that goes back a ways! It was the year 7th Heaven and Everybody Loves Raymond were released. Home Improvement and Boy Meets World were two of my favorite TV shows. Long hair for guys was in, and skinny jeans … what were those?! It was this year that also stands out to me because it was the year I graduated from high school.
I still remember my youth pastor calling the class of 1996 up on stage in front of our church family. We pretended to smile while he probably said some nice things about us. Then, I remember him giving us a graduation gift (this had not been done for previous senor classes). I was a bit surprised to find a cassette tape (yes, I said cassette) of Christian music compiled for the graduating class of 1996. Little did I realize at that moment that I would keep that cassette for life (yep, still got it!) Christian music was a huge factor in my spiritual life and I’m so thankful for the artists and bands who have spoken truth into my life through music.
On my first day on the job as a new youth pastor, there was a stack of mail on my desk for me to sort through (oh how fun!) As I began to trash most everything, I came across a renewal notice from interlínc. The youth pastor before me had been a Youth Leaders Only member. A check to interlínc was the first request I made from my youth budget to keep the good music coming! Little did I know, the cassette tape I received in 1996 as a graduation gift was put out by interlínc.
Since my first day in ministry, I have given my teens the gift of God-honoring music. And that graduation gift I received from interlinc… yeah, I’m still giving that away too!2
We LOVE hearing the stories of the 1,300,000 graduates who have been given ConGRADulations! over the years! Great to see Nathan now leading the ministry at Kingwood Bible Church. Click here to check out this year’s ConGRADulations! Music & Media Gift for seniors.