Several years ago, I dragged a few of my friends to an avant-garde jazz concert. Having little exposure to the genre, they approached the evening with a fair amount of skepticism, and understandably so—the avant-garde has a reputation for being inaccessible, noisy, or just downright weird. Despite this, they came along, and after the show was over, one of them said something to me that has stuck ever since: “The music only started to make sense to me when I saw the band in action, performing it together.” I sometimes think about this experience when I think about the Church. To many people, the Church may seem like avant-garde jazz: inaccessible, noisy, and weird. Yet, when the Church comes alongside one another, as people riff off of one another and the Triune God in a visible, passionate way, there is a strange beauty and captivating energy to the ensuing music, even if it is sometimes dissonant.
As the Pastor of Youth and Young Adults here at River East Church, I am excited to partner with young people as we make a whole lot of noise for Jesus. Between my studies at Canadian Mennonite University and a lifetime of volunteering within the Church, I have been privileged to see God at work in and through the lives of young people. I am married to Simone Thiessen, who also has a soft spot for youth ministry, and together we are parents to our daughter Zoe.