April 22, 2010

It takes the village to reach the community of teenagers . . .

"What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?" James 2:14 "It takes a village to raise a child" is a quote from former First Lady and current Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. I never thought I would use a quote from her and be in agreement with her, but I am. On Wednesday nights at The Garage we have been in a series of studies from the book of James that really kind of started in my mind and heart about 3 months ago as I thought about the greatest need that our students had. It wasn't self assurance. It was a thrashing over the head for immorality. It wasn't a better understanding of the Trinity. . . Simply put, I felt that they needed to understand that the faith that they have is to be a muscle that they build up. It is something that is supposed to be functional. Not a dead, vestigial organ that could be cut out of their life and nobody know the difference. James asks the question, and I definitely agree with it. Is a faith that we "have" that compels us to do absolutely nothing for Jesus a true authentic saving faith. I absolutely do not think that it can be. But, that is not my real reason for writing this blog today.
My REAL reason for writing this is the desire that I have to see student ministries grasp the idea that we, greater than any other ministry, need to work together to reach our communities.
-->We need to practice our faith as YOUTH MINISTERS. We need to understand that when we give effort to working cooperatively with other ministries God will allow us to grow as individual ministries and as the collective church.

I have a great friend, Will McReynolds, with whom I served the town of Savannah, TN for close to three years. I enjoyed working with him. Greg, Clint, Stephen, and others were in that area. We all had kids at the same high and middle schools. The principal called us when there was a tragic attempted suicide one day at the school. Why did he feel he could do that?

I believe that it was the networked and cooperative effort that we displayed to minister to the same kids that he, as the principal wanted to help reach their full potential. It was different goals: academic goals compared to our goals of seeing teenagers saved, but in reality we all wanted the same thing. Teenagers that did their very best at WHATEVER they did.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33.

Here is what is on my heart: Golden Strip Youth Ministries. GSYM.

A non-profit, consolidated effort that pooled the resources of people, money, and planning for certain specific efforts to reach our community of teenagers at Mauldin, Hillcrest, JL Mann, and Woodmont High schools with all of their underlying middle schools, as well.

Here is what I think needs to happen. Get involved with each other on events. That needs to be defined. NOT 'come and bring your kids to my event' , but rather 'lets plan these events together, pool resources of people, money, and planning for this certain effort to reach our community of teenagers.

-->Area-wide Disciple Now weekends. Area-wide mission projects to serve the Golden Strip area. Recruiting older teenagers in our ministries to mentor and disciple at risk kids in our elementary and middle schools. The possibilities are endless . . .

Why did I become involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes? Because they provided me with clout and ability to reach athletes in my own backyard at Hillcrest High school that is HARD to do otherwise in today's PC world of public education. The Athletic administration and coaching staff already had a report with FCA, and that made it easier for me to blend in to what was happening on the field.

The added result that I really had not counted on was the additional opportunity to reach the coaches and minister to their needs.

A village effort. It sometimes takes the village idiot to call the people to a common cause.Ezra had the need to raise up people to do the work of the house of God. I think that we have many more Iddo's than we realize, and I challenge us to do something with what God has given us in the resources of people, money, and planning for certain specific efforts to reach our community of teenagers.

If we don't Satan will . . .

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