MUSKEGON – “Let Your Light Shine,” was the theme of Thursday’s annual dinner for M.A.D. House Make A Difference Ministries, which is celebrating its 30th year serving the teens of the West Michigan area.
The dinner, which serves as a fundraiser and annual report for supporters, was held at Laketon Bethel Reformed Church, 1568 W. Giles Rd., where the ministry meets weekly on Thursday’s at 6 p.m. during the school year.
According to the ministry’s website (http://www.madministries.net), M.A.D. House is a two-hour, “Saturday Night Live” style of program involving, fun, craziness, friendship, connecting, learning about ourselves and about God in one package. But it doesn’t end there. There is help available during the week through connections with some adult staff who have been through tough stuff in their own lives and want that to translate to helping teenagers (ages 14-18).
Dave and Carole Nordstrom started the ministry in North Muskegon in 1989. The ministry has moved from facilities in Dalton, Montague and North Muskegon while continuing to grow. M.A.D. Ministries has over 20 adults, mostly volunteers on its staff.
It is financially supported by individuals, businesses and churches.
“Kids want to know more about Jesus,” Dave Nordstrom told the audience at the dinner. “They have to fill out a three-page application for the Bible Study. Who’s heard of that?,” he added.
Former and current M.A.D. House students gave testimonies, and said they learned about it through personal invitations by friends. And, they said, they come back because of the acceptance they feel from leaders and other students, as well as the fun they have.
The Nordstroms have recently released a book they have written on youth ministry.
“It’s written to the next generation of youth leaders,” Dave said.
The book is titled, “Surviving and Thriving in the MAD HOUSE of Youth Ministry.”
A description of the book published by WESTBOW Press (www.westbowpress.com) said the reader won’t find Bible verses and theological statement, or game ideas or club topics.
What it does offer is 40 years of timeless lessons learned by real, live youth leaders such as: how to determine if youth ministry is actually your calling, insights for your spouse, how to turn what you thought were weaknesses into strengths, how to motivate teen in your group and how to avoid burn out in ministry, among many other topics.