By Becky St. Clair
Klenth Sasil moved to Moreno Hills Church last fall and became the youngest Filipino pastor in the conference.
“I wasn’t sure where to start,” the youth pastor admits. “When you get done at the seminary, there’s a lot to process, and I just felt lost.”
He started by asking his senior pastor for a work space that could double as a youth hangout. His request was granted, and he set up CAFE Life: Community, Authenticity, Friendship, and Experience.
“I wanted to create a space where we could all just be real with each other and do life together,” he explains.
As their first contribution to 2022’s year of evangelism, Moreno Hills youth created an evangelistic series for young people called “The Pursuit: Finding meaning and purpose in Christ,” which took place over five Sabbaths in January and February. As a result of their partnership with the Holy Spirit, 12 people were baptized.
“Our focus was really the heart of God,” Sasil says. “We wanted to provide a chance for people to encounter God’s presence in an intimate way.”
And, according to Sasil, the series was a success.
“It’s not about having a fancy program or the number of baptisms,” he says; “It’s about seeing people transformed by finding a new pursuit in their lives. That’s God at work.”
Sasil is enjoying seeing the youth become more at home in their church. CAFE Life provides a comfortable space where they can ask tough questions and have real conversations, and they’ve started inviting friends to come too.
“They are very curious,” Sasil says. “They want to know what it means to be a Christian and they’re looking for someone to share their struggles.”
The church has been very supportive of CAFE Life. They offer financial support, furnish spaces, provide branded shirts for the youth, and even cook for them. The group gets together outside church at the lake, at restaurants, and for vespers at members’ homes.
Sasil says there are conversations taking place between several area churches to make CAFE Life regularly available to all their youth and young adults, and to coordinate regular joint vespers programs. Their goal is to create a strong program that also includes youth who aren’t yet part of the church.
“We’re just doing what we’re doing,” Sasil explains, “going where the young people are and focusing on relationship-building. Evangelism isn’t always sermons and Revelation–sometimes it’s just creating a safe space where we can show authenticity and experience Jesus.”