Who knew his dream would have so much impact?
The story of Organized Kaos
I first met Shawn in September of 2011. He had come to Heritage College to take part in a one year intercultural missions program (The SERVE Experience). The next year I met Melissa, who had also come to Heritage for the same reason. In time, Shawn and Melissa met, started dating, got engaged, and got married. During this journey, Shawn shared with me his dream. “I want to open a drop-in centre where students will hear the Gospel while they develop skills in carpentry and construction.” These were two areas that Shawn had a lot of experience in. Although I didn’t verbally dismiss his dream, I had a hard time visualizing how he was going to make it a reality. To start anything from scratch is a challenge, let alone a unique ministry that was going to require so much work, expertise, and finances.
My reaction to Shawn’s dream was pretty typical. For most of us, we know intellectually that God can do anything, but practically we are often full of doubt and disbelief. When someone dares to tackle a mountain, often the response of those around is that the mountain is probably too big, the journey too hard, and the reward not big enough to justify the effort.
After Shawn and Melissa got married, his dream became their dream and they actually pursued it with all their energy. With lots of hard work, input from other leaders in ministry, and God’s intervention in many different ways, the dream became a reality and Organized Kaos was born.
Organized Kaos (OK) exists to apprentice young people in life and trade, inspiring hope and purpose. OK creates a safe environment for young people (ages 13-17) to work and learn alongside skilled tradespersons from local churches. Through a variety of different courses, running in a semester format, OK offers opportunities for students to acquire employable skills, to be in positive mentoring relationships, and to discover the powerful, transformative, life-giving power of the Gospel.
An impact in young lives
By maintaining a low ratio of 1 tradesperson to 2 students, a close working connection is created with their trades mentors, as well as a feeling of being cared for by an adult. And by learning how to use tools and basic construction techniques, these teenagers feel accomplished as they discover their capacity to build something. The work and the relationships become a medium for sharing the Gospel, pointing to these students’ great value and ultimate potential, and to the most fulfilling relationship they could ever have… with their own Creator. The main goal at Organized Kaos is that every young person who comes through the door may know God, know that He is seeking them, and fervently seek Him in return.
An impact in the community
The ministry of OK is found in Brantford, Ontario. Brantford is a town experiencing high school dropouts, unemployment, and social assistance at higher than the average rates in Ontario. OK meets a great need not merely in the lives of students and families but also in the life of their community. OK has not only been welcomed into their town, but encouraged and celebrated for the work they are doing.
My son has grown leaps and bounds since starting your program and I can’t thank you enough. You have given my son a program to look forward to each week. I have seen his confidence and self-esteem grow since starting your program. He has started to take his schooling more seriously and is overall more happy. I thank you and your team for helping him grow as a person. I look forward to having a long relationship with OK and watching my son grow at such a crucial point in his life.
Parent of a student enrolled with OK
An impact in the dreamers
What an incredible story! A story of two people’s desire to serve and love those in need in their community with the full measure of the Gospel. It’s a story of two young people who dreamed big for God’s glory and for the good of those far from Him — a story of persistent asking, seeking and knocking and how God answered. Not all dreams turn out like Organized Kaos, but it should inspire us whenever disciples of Christ turn to Him like Caleb in Joshua 14, saying “let me take this mountain”.
An impact beyond
I wonder if some of the towns here in Quebec would welcome a ministry like this? Or a different one? What is our Gospel dream for our neighbourhood, our city, our province? How are we encouraging others to expect great things from God and attempt great things for Him? Is there a mountain that God cannot give us? Is there a barrier that He cannot overcome?
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Chris Middleton is a missionary with Fellowship International, serving in Canada. He lives in Blainville, QC with his wife (Sara) and his two sons, and is part of Ecclesia Church in Saint-Jerôme.