Welcome to the Fam
By: JENNIFER ROBLES
I remember hearing about the high school ministry Underground (UG) when I was in middle school and thinking, “That’s somewhere I can belong”. Now as a young professional, I appreciate the way this Arlington Adventist Church ministry has grown and the values it teaches our high schoolers.
Pastor Danny Cano oversees the ministry. All it takes is attending a Saturday gathering to experience his genuine love for youth and this ministry. Through his leadership, the group of teens has grown to about five dozen and become a close-knit family.
Several months ago, Pastor Danny reached out to a few leaders of Younger Generation Church and asked if both ministries could collaborate. YG leaders led worship and hosted a panel discussion focused on how YG could better serve our high schoolers. UGers expressed that the biggest thing that attracted them to UG is the inclusivity and acceptance of the other students. “The goal of UG is to not let people fall through the wayside and to help them maintain community even when they leave UG," notes Cano. "UG exists to engage, prepare, and empower our students to share the unmatched freedom and love found only in Jesus.”
One particular student mentioned that she reached out to ministry leaders several months prior, seeking to become part of the "UG fam". Before she knew it, the community embraced her as their own. She now leads worship alongside new friends and recommitted her life to Christ, thanks to the nurturing and accepting UG community. Her life is one of the many lives that have been impacted by UG.
One thing UG mentor Christian Aparicio strives to do is to speak life into the lives of the high schoolers he serves. “I wish that I had been taught that my mistakes don’t define me. Growing up, I felt lots of pressure to do the right thing and would be scared that I would mess up God’s will in my life,” says Aparicio. “I’ve learned to live by receiving what God has planned for me, as the scripture says in Matt 6:26, ‘Do not be anxious.’” Cano constantly speaks words of affirmation and encourages the high schoolers to reach their fullest potential in Christ. These values are reflected in the interactions the students have with older YG leaders and their welcoming acceptance to newcomers.
Welcome to the UG family.