The Drayton Years 2012-2015
theSHIP (Seeking His Incredible Purpose) started in January 2012 as a team of 9 young adults from a church in Drayton, ON who were looking for a way to get involved in both our church and our community. They quickly realized that most churches didn’t have a lot in place for young adults (18-30ish) and thus, theSHIP was born. Founders Mark and Megan Kabbes and others spent the first 10 months building an interdenominational team of young adults from churches in and around Drayton, Arthur, Palmerston and Listowel. Using Church in the Box (CITB) out of Redeemer University as a template, they began to plan for our first night of worship.
Pastor Duane Vanderlaan
A service at the Drayton Reformed Church
A promo video from theSHIP's beginnings at the theater
In October 2012 theSHIP was finally ready to launch. With over 200 young adults from over 11 different denominations they kicked things off at the Drayton Festival Theatre with a powerful night of music, drama and a message from Drayton native, Pastor Mark Knetsch.
theSHIP had a number of awesome services at the theater and the neutral and community oriented location was a perfect way to kick off the ministry. However the decision was made to move theSHIP to Drayton Reformed Church for administrative and financial reasons. Drayton Reformed Church was a welcoming host to theSHIP from 2013-2015. The annual dodgeball night was a favourite during the Drayton years and Director Mark Kabbes with his team continued to provide solid leadership. The services consisted of a in-house band and a number of speakers including Duane Vanderlaan, Henry Meinen and Andrew deGelder and many more. The Drayton Years provided many lasting memories and a enduring community of young adults. The Lord was faithful.
In spring of 2015, Director Mark Kabbes stepped down from director to focus on family, but remained on the leadership team with wife Megan. Jesse and Jenna Kroes stepped up and took over leadership of theSHIP. They would direct from Spring-Fall 2015. theSHIP continued to run out of Drayton Reformed Church and other events other than services were planned to bring more diversity to the ministry.
The Listowel Years (2015-Present)
However, the base of SHIP attenders started to get older and lead busier lives which saw the attendance continue to drop. It was a clear that changes had to be made or else the ministry was in danger of dying out. After a rough start attendance-wise to kick off the fall of 2015, the team started to brainstorm ways to revive and renew the Ministry. A location change was mentioned as a possible solution.
Following a sold-out Tim Neufeld concert at Listowel Evangelical Missionary Church, former director Mark Kabbes started to have a new vision for theSHIP, one that included the possibility of moving theSHIP to Listowel. Tim Neufeld concert Head Organizer, Derek Klumpenhouwer had recently joined theSHIP's leadership team in September. Mark began discussions with Derek about moving theSHIP to Listowel and they brought the idea forward at the next meeting. Due to their location and a different vision, Jesse and Jenna Kroes decided to step down as directors and start a new young adult ministry in Mount Forest. Mark Kabbes returned to his role as a director and Derek would also take on the director role.
The planning for the move to Listowel started in December 2015 with the first service planned for January. A leadership team was formed with a number of past and new members. A number of changes besides the location took place, most notable with a name change as theSHIP (Seeking His Incredible Purpose) became theSHIP Young Adults Gathering. theSHIP kicked off at LEMC in January 2016 for "EMPOWERED" with Christian Singer/ Song-Writer Sathiya Sam leading worship and Bart Eisen speaking. With the move, attendance started to rise once again, most notably at "We Are One" in February 2016 with over 120 attendees. theSHIP continued to be rebranded with bands being brought in for gatherings, diverse speakers, a new image, new website and a new audience.
Co-directors Mark Kabbes and Derek Klumpenhouwer worked extremly well together and theSHIP grew under their leadership, but Mark decided to once again step down (this time for good) to focus on family and a new church plant in Fergus. Derek would continue as Director working with a awesome team of young adults from the area. theSHIP would move to the Listowel Park in the summer for "theSHIP Summer Nights", which would be a new favourite event for the ministry.
theSHIP's first gathering in Listowel
Co-Directors Mark Kabbes (left) and
Derek Klumpenhouwer (right)
at "We Are One" in February 2016
A new chapter, a new leadership team
In September 2017, once again a new phase started for the ministry. The decision was made to move theSHIP from Listowel Evangelical Missionary Church to YFC Upper Deck in Listowel. The new location will provide a smaller, more intimate venue. Listowel EMC was a faithful host for the ministry for almost two years and we are grateful for their help. In addition, Tristan Lensvelt stepped down from the Director position to join the World Race Mission Trip in 2018. Emma Van Veen has stepped up to serve as co-director beside her husband Matt.
theSHIP has a bright future and we are putting our trust in God to lead the ministry. Although there has been multiple leadership and location changes, God continues to grow and work through the ministry. Throughout the years, God has been so good! We are thankful for everyone who has been apart of theSHIP!
Derek stepped down in August 2016 to attend Briercrest Bible College in Saskatchewan to study Christian Ministry & Theology. Bart Eisen (Youth & Young Adult Pastor at Bethel CRC) took on interim leadership and once again, a new chapter of theSHIP began. theSHIP saw it's last founding members, Corne and Angie Koersen step down after many years of service and leadership. A new leadership team was formed and prepared to lead the ministry in a new phase.
Tristan Lensvelt and Matt Van Veen stepped up as new Directors in Fall 2016. The ministry saw a number of notable new and exciting editions to the leadership team and also said goodbye to others who moved onto school and other plans. The ministry was once again re-shaped with less bands and speakers being brought in and more of a focus on local leaders/ speakers, discussion and community. Former Director (2012-2016) Mark Kabbes lead a mission trip to Kentucky in association with the ministry. Throughout the year a strong and faithful group of attendees continued to come. A sense of community was continuing to grow.