Guest speaker Mike Love acknowledges the political leaders in the room and tough role they have in the community

Guest speaker Mike Love acknowledges the political leaders in the room and tough role they have in the community

Mayor’s prayer breakfast makes a return to Ponoka

A keynote speech was focused on youth and tearing down barriers between people at the Ponoka Mayor's prayer breakfast.

While the main event was to honour and pray for the community’s public servants, the keynote speech was focused on youth and tearing down barriers between people.

The Ponoka Mayor’s Community Prayer Breakfast made its return to the calendar after a four-year hiatus with both Town of Ponoka Mayor Rick Bonnett and Ponoka County Reeve Paul McLauchlin attending the function put on by the Ponoka Ministerial Association. The breakfast was held March 25 at the Royal Canadian Legion Auditorium and drew around 100 people.

And, according to Home Church Pastor Rob McArthur, the breakfast was brought back as it is part of the ministerial association’s mandate to host and is mere coincidence that 2017 is an election year.

In his comments to the crowd, McLauchlin stated he was glad this event was being held because the people in public service need all the help they can get and it might even encourage other people to get involved and run for office.

“Us, as politicians, do the best we can with what we got,” he said. “It’s an honour to be able to serve and I’ve learned so much during my time on (Ponoka County) council.”

Bonnett also spoke briefly to the crowd, noting that in spite of the obvious split decision-making ability on town council, that the members do work together for the good of the community.

“If we all agreed with my position, it would be a dictatorship. So, differing opinions are needed and each councillor is passionate about what they believe would be good for the community,” he stated.

And that led nicely into the topic from Mike Love, the guest speaker, who pointed the spotlight on youth and how a community needs to come together. Love and his wife Donna, who live in Edmonton, founded Extreme Dream Ministries and YC Alberta a pair of organizations that are focused on reaching out to the spiritual needs of the next generation.

Love, who at age 17 in a rural Ontario community was rather troubled, credits his direction in life to a pastor who threw him off the school bus many times for causing problems for taking an interest in his future.

“There are a lot of good young people out there, but people highlight the profile of children at risk and I can understand as I was one of them,” Love explained.

“One day, that pastor before throwing me off the bus invited me to a church gathering. So, when I finished walking home I thought I would get off the hook with my mom by telling her the story.”

However, his mother caught him off-guard by telling him it was a good idea and in the end, he was the one who got hooked.

The church Love attended was one that, in his words, preached to the youth through music with an attitude of fear.

“At one point, I realized it was no laughing matter. It radically changed my life and I’m so glad that pastor made that try to get through to me,” Love told the audience.

“There are a lot of youth out there in our community just like this a generation waiting on the other side of obedience.”

And for him, to be picked by God to be speaking to people, to be able to hear himself on that platform speaking that same message to youth as that pastor did to him, it makes Love feel he has to do the same and search for those with potential to be the new leaders.

Politicians, such as the ones being recognized at the breakfast, are among the community leaders Love feels the youth should also look up to. However, the tough job and responsibility politicians face means people need to stand behind and support them.

“When fences go up, are created between people or churches, relationships start to go down. Today, moving those fences provides us with the opportunity by coming together to the benefit of the community,” he stated.

“We need to be united in Christ and move those fences to become good neighbours once again.”

In conclusion, Love said people need to believe they have a greater influence on youth than they think and that people need to, “expect the miraculous, that words are powerful and take the opportunity to make a difference.”