Inspire and Equipping Students In Their Giftings

Jr. high is a very awkward time for most people, but I would argue with the best of them that it is the most defining period in a young man’s life. I actually started learning my career then, and it formed my love for the youth of the church during this time in my life. 

Hello, my name is Noah Ostunio, and I have been working in youth ministry since I was in youth ministry. Yes, that’s right, I started serving in my youth group when I was a 7th grader, and I haven’t stopped serving youth in some form since. I began by doing the lyric presentation for worship using PowerPoint and controlling some ghetto homemade lighting system. Then at the end of 7th grade, I started learning how to set up the audio system and how to mix on the soundboard. 

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be in a youth group that had leaders who had various audio experience, and through them I learned the fundamentals of audio. With this experience in youth group, I picked up a solid understanding of how audio systems work. This experience was the foundation that took me to my first job in sound about three years later. 

I was only able to gain this type of experience because I had a youth pastor who encouraged me to grow in my gifts. My youth pastor Garry Neumann greatly encouraged the concept of me learning sound in youth group and serving right then and there; he once even gave me a scholarship to a river rafting camping trip the guys of the youth group went on. He had this ministry philosophy that treated the jr. highers like mini adults and expected us to live up to this. But Garry knew that 12-14 year olds could not act like adults all the time. Nonetheless, he gave us a goal to work toward in our lives, not only mentally and emotionally, but also spiritually. I would say that this forced us to be mature for our age, while still allowing us to be silly, highly emotional, voice cracking, know it all jr. highers. Let me tell you I spent probably 90% of my free time in jr. high with the pastors and leaders of the youth group. I was always with them. I can tell you I never once felt that as a jr. higher I was not old enough or good enough to be there. I regularly felt like I was treated as one of them, and it forced me to act like an adult and serve my youth group as one. 
 
I think Pastor Garry took this from how our God looks at us. In Leviticus 20:26, God tells Israel to be holy because He is Holy and has separated them from other people to be holy. And I think this is how God the Father sees our students. They are no longer children, but are beginning their walk into adulthood. They still can have the essence of children, but are developing the reason of adults. Learning their walks with Christ can’t be built on the foundation of their parents, but rather must be their own walk with Christ. They need to live lives like the children of God and not like the world.  We see throughout the Epistles in the New Testament the same type of commands (1 Peter 1:16, Philippians 4:4-9, Hebrews 12:14, 2 Corinthians 7:1). Our Heavenly Father knows in our current state of being justified in Him and going through the process of sanctification that we cannot be holy all the time in this life. But glorification is coming soon when our Lord takes us home. We will be holy then and forever (1 John 3:2, 2 Corinthians 3:18). And it is such a joy that we have the knowledge that our Heavenly Father already sees us as a holy people (1 Peter 2:9) and is working in our lives to make us like Him.

Since I was in jr. high, I have served in various roles of youth ministry, whether it was audio-visual or just being a counselor. I am currently on staff with Coast Hills Church as their Technical Arts Director. I also work freelance as a Production Engineer and have worked stages with some very famous artists from different musical genres including country, rap, hip-hop, rock, and alternative. I would not have been able to do any of this if I didn’t have a youth pastor who believed in me and gave me the opportunity to be all that Christ has for me.  
BIO
Noah Ostunio is in his early twenties and is Youth Workers Conference Production Director. He has served in youth groups most of his life and loves seeing young people have encounters with their Creator and Savior. He manages all audio, lighting, and video for YWC and helps with the planning of the YWC with the rest of the leadership team. He has served with various ministries including Bridgetown Church, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, Calvary Chapel Twin Peaks Conference Center, Calvary Chapel Bible College, Creationfest, Maranatha Chapel, and Maranatha Christian School. Noah currently is the Technical Arts Director at Coast Hills Church in Aliso Viejo and serves as a volunteer in their high school ministry.