Personal Conviction
Brian Veenstra

Being a Young Person in the Assemblies

A couple of weeks ago, Crawford Paul wrote an article entitled “A Letter to the Young People”.  

He said that the young people are not the future of the Assemblies; rather, they are the now. As a young person, that encouraged me tremendously. 

I was born and raised in the assemblies. When I was younger, my family attended Grace and Truth Christian Fellowship. I grew up familiar with the weekly breaking of bread in the remembrance meeting and the Family Bible Hour. The songs and melodies in Hymns of Worship and Remembrance and Hymns of Truth and Praise became ingrained in my mind. 

When I was young, I thought every church was like Grace and Truth. I was taught what the New Testament precedent was for how church services were to be conducted. The first time I went to a megachurch, I realized that not every church did it like the assemblies. They had something called a pastor. They sang, yes, and had men teaching, but where was the weekly Breaking of Bread? I realized that most other churches conducted their meetings differently.

For a little kid, the yearly assembly conferences were a big thing. I got to meet other kids my age, and hang out with people I only saw once a year. In fact, the Lord used one of these conferences to lead me to Him.

It was April 19, 2014. Northwest Gospel Hall was hosting their annual Spring Conference. That year, the missionary Nate Bramsen spoke. I don’t remember what he said, but it got to me, as I realized I was a sinner. That night, I repented and asked the Lord’s forgiveness. It would be two more years before I got baptized. 

Two days before I was baptized, doctors discovered a tumor in my little sister’s eye. On the afternoon of June 26, 2016, right after my baptism, two brothers from our assembly (which was now Northwest Gospel Hall) called the rest of the assembly together, and they laid hands on and prayed over my family. 

The sense of love and community that I felt that day made me love the assemblies. It hit me that this was what the love of Christ did.

There are several things I appreciate about the assemblies.

  • The open format of the Breaking of Bread meeting. As I matured as a young believer, brothers in our assembly encouraged me and the other young men to share in the Breaking of Bread meeting. I still remember when I shared for the first time, in September 2017. After the meeting, over a dozen brothers and sisters thanked me for my word. That made me want to continue.
  • The strong sense of fellowship and family. The day my sister was diagnosed is just one example of the love that our local assembly has shown for my family. In the following weeks, they made us meals, bought my sister gifts, and helped us get back to our normal routine. They have continued to bless my family, and bless others with their love and kindness.
  • Singing beautiful hymns. I cannot stress how much I love the singing in the assemblies. Through the assemblies, I learned that I love singing with the Lord’s people more than anything else. Singing great old hymns such as ‘It is Well’, ‘Abide with Me’, and ‘And, Can it Be?’, aa well as new hymns like ‘In Christ Alone’ and ‘How Deep the Father’s Love for Us’. 
  • Assembly conferences. My love of assembly conferences has grown since I was younger. They still are wonderful times of fellowship and learning for me and my peers. I love that families from all over the country attend these conferences, and I have the opportunity to fellowship with brothers and sisters that I rarely see. 
  • Young people encouraged to take part. For me, the best part of the assemblies is that they encourage the youth to take responsibility in the assembly’s daily life. My friends and I are always asked to join our the monthly door-to-door evangelism work. Two of my friends play piano on a regular basis, both at meetings and for youth group. Our young ladies help cook and plan meals for the conferences and events. Several of the older young men, including myself, have been asked multiple times to teach open Sunday School during the summer. We have a vibrant youth group, with over two dozen young people. 

The assemblies provide the perfect atmosphere for young people to grow in faith and take responsibility for the church’s well-being. The assemblies are an encouragement to the youth that attend. I have grown and matured in the assemblies.

I don’t intend to leave.

Brian Veenstra
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