Thursday, April 4, 2013
I am going to attempt to write this post not out of the bitterness or anger I feel, but rather out of an overwhelming love for all teens but more importantly the teens in the Joplin area.
News was released yesterday that The Bridge will "cease teen outreach operations." Although I haven't been a part of the ministry of The Bridge for quite sometime now, I am in no way able to deny that this sadden me greatly. The 6 years of ministry that I invested there will always ALWAYS be a huge part of who I am today. The kids (most of them aren't kids anymore) I was/am blessed to call "my kids" will always hold a special place in my heart forever. It saddens me because teens need this. They need people in their lives who care. They need a place they can go and talk to someone who is willing to listen. They need a place where they can be themselves. They need a place where someone can say "yeah life sucks and I am sorry but I know it can get better." They need a place where they can ask the hard questions and not be shunned because of doubt. They need a place where people who love Jesus with all their heart are doing their very best to portray that overwhelming love of God to them. They need a place where they can begin to understand grace. They need a place where adults will be real with them. They need a place where they can trust adults. They need a place where they can be encouraged, pushed to reach beyond themselves, and most of all where they can find Jesus! And yes over the years I believe the philosophy of that particular ministry changed (maybe out of fear of closing doors or maybe for a real authentic belief that that was what God was calling them too) regardless of what I think about that ministry right now, what I do know is we CANNOT give up on these teens! The Bridge made a statement saying "As of now, the most important thing God is speaking to us is this: He has commissioned his Church to reach the lost through the power and presence of his Holy Spirit. We must connect our kids during their teen years directly to the Church. Otherwise, there is a danger that teens may form their Faith identity around a place or a program that is not as readily available nor as wisely administrated as his Church." And while I do agree with this statement, I also disagree. We are the Church. We need to create, be intentional about ways to reach these teens in the first place. They aren't just going to stumble upon a youth ministry over night. A lot of these kids hate the Church (at least their perception of the Church). They aren't just going to come to us. We must go where they are or have something they want to come to where they feel safe. And no we aren't using it as a "trap" but as an avenue to love, to care, to share.
With all of this said God is calling me out. He is telling me its time to put up or shut up. God has called/blessed me with an amazing ministry! God is saying to me "be intentional Courtnie, make this part of your life a priority. These kids (teens) matter to me so they should matter to you (even the drama filled girls haha)." Our laborers are few and our harvest is plentiful. Last Friday night God brought us 240 kids!!! I had conversations with several of them but in no way could 6 "staff members" talk to every kids there. Pray for us! Pray for Solace! Pray for workers! Pray for our kids; our teens! And may they NEVER feel like we are giving up on them!
If you are a teen (one of "my kids") reading this, know that you are loved more than words can explain! I care! I want to listen! I want you to know that I know a Jesus who knows EVERYTHING about you and yet He still pursues you!
"While we (me/you) were (are) still sinners, Christ died for us (for me/YOU)- Romans 5:8