Josiah Seto grew up in a Christian family with parents who’d followed Jesus since their university days. From a young age, Josiah understood what Jesus had done for him and accepted this truth. He says his parents helped him take the steps he needed to form his own faith and that God worked to reveal himself along the way.
Josiah found as he grew up, he focused a lot of his attention and energy on wanting to be the best, and achieve the highest results. What struck him, was the experience of sharing his testimony of how he became a Christian and feeling stuck when he compared his to the others he was hearing.
“I had heard other people’s testimonies, that they had these really amazing experiences where they didn’t follow Jesus before something amazing happened, or they went through some hardship, which then meant that they followed Jesus now, and it was just such a big and like significant experience, but I didn’t feel like I had that,” he shares.
“It was the process of particularly being struck by the story of the prodigal son in the Bible, and really resonating more with the older brother. In a similar way, I had a hard heart like the youngest son who ran from the father, but the older son didn’t. He stayed at home and continued working, but he still didn’t have a love for his father. I really resonated with that particular story because I felt that I had always been here but it was only reflecting on that and seeing the father’s love. God’s love for me is something that’s so rich and so deep, just as the father’s love for the younger son. And so there was a combination of that as well as at that moment knowing that I found a lot of my value in what I tried to achieve and my studies.”
This was a pivotal moment for Josiah in owning his faith and beginning to understand the importance of sharing the Gospel with others.
Enthusiasm for Jesus and ministering to others
During his university mathematics degree, Josiah got involved with the uni Christian group and volunteered at church. As he heard more about people undertaking apprenticeships through churches and universities he became convinced that this was the path he’d like to take.
“I started to develop a love for wanting to teach the Bible and do life with other people and be freed up to do that,” he shares.
Josiah shares that while he had a passion for sharing the gospel with others, he faced an initial setback when applying to do an apprenticeship. Following the interview process, Josiah was told by the pastors at his church that he should “hit pause” on his plans to do an apprenticeship and get some real-world experience by working for a few years.
“I was only just finishing up uni, about 21 years old. They told me after the interview to hit pause on it, on the whole process of doing an apprenticeship and to really think about getting a bit more life experience going into the workforce before I considered going into full-time ministry. That was pretty difficult to be told, but looking back I think it was really valuable,” he shares.
Once Josiah finished his degree he went to work in customer service for the next two years and during those two years, got married.
“After two years of working, I really reassessed what was next for me and asked God if doing an apprenticeship was still the right decision. The first time I was keen, I felt like this was exactly what the right path would be to go into ministry. But now there was a lot more to think through, I think I had nuance and maturity, which was probably the intention of my pastors when they made that initial decision,” he says.
Creating a space to minister to and with young people
In 2022, Josiah began his MTS apprenticeship at MBM Parramatta. His trainer is Dan Lee, the campus pastor at MBM Parramatta, and his main responsibilities are overseeing the welcoming and morning teams, and working with the youth pastor and membership team.
“The other big part I oversee is the leaders and team leaders as a senior rep for the youth group, our high school ministry. I oversee the year group leaders for years 9 to 12. I come alongside the leaders there and give them support and direction about what’s the best way to continue discipling their youth,” he says.
Josiah works with the youth leaders to look at the way the youth group is run to ensure they’re reaching the youth in the best way possible and sharing the Gospel in a way they will understand and embrace to transform their lives.
A typical Friday night at youth group sees the leaders meet around 6pm to set up, and the youth aged from years six to 12, arrive at 7pm.
“We spend about 45 minutes or so just having dinner together, and then there are games and time spent hanging out together. Then we head into our formal session time. We’ll have some singing together and then head into a service-style time with a Bible reading and Bible talk,” Josiah shared.
“I think youth is a special place because it is a ministry specifically for our youth. We want to give them space to be ministered to and for us to share Jesus with them. We’ve really been struck with making youth ministry a space that’s not just for us to serve the youth, but it’s also a place where we can be raising youth to also be serving each other and being involved.”
The gospel changing hearts on camp and beyond
Recently, the youth group went on their annual youth camp to Stanwell Tops from Friday afternoon to Monday evening. Josiah shared two encouraging experiences that stemmed from the camp.
“It was such a fun time away but easily the best part of camp was seeing 11 of our youth saying ‘yes’ to following Jesus for the first time! For many of them, God has been working in their lives through the consistent care of their youth leaders. For one year 12 girl, she was reading the Bible during our ‘Be Still’ time and was convicted and couldn’t help but choose to give her life to Jesus,” Josiah shares.
Following the camp, the youth group and leaders participated in the running of the Sunday services. Josiah shared that after the service, one of his graduated youth group boys approached him.
Josiah says, “He had visited as a one-off to see a friend. He’s generally been quite vocal about his rejection of Jesus but after seeing our youth celebrations and community as they sang together, he was moved to tears. He told me that seeing everyone united in singing was so moving and it hit him powerfully. We got to have a chat about the joy of Christians being not just in the hype of the moment but all about Jesus, the one that we’re singing about. Although he hasn’t yet submitted to living for Jesus, he’s recognised that there’s a joy and unity that only Christians have and in his words: “I’m jealous for that”.”
Please pray that this 19-year-old would come to know the joy of following Jesus and doing life with His people and praise God for the youth camp and those who chose to follow Jesus. Also pray for Josiah as he continues ministry this year at MBM, and then finishes his apprenticeship at the end of 2023.