I was saddened recently to hear about the plight of a young man we met several years ago at an Urban Ministry we are active in called PUMP. He was a little kid in the program we work with. His behavior was bad news from day one, but he was beautiful. He had a foul mouth, total disdain for authority and a bleak outlook on life. His parents were in and out of prison and drug addicts. He was in the foster system most of his life. It was a sad story. This month he was arrested in for the murder of his 14 yr old girlfriend. How tragic! I have had a hard time wrapping my head around this. How does a kid go so wrong in such a short time? How does a child…born into innocence become SO corrupted? It breaks my heart to the core.
The answer is clear. INFLUENCE. Influence is everything. Positive influences can lead you one way, and negative the other. Sure there is free will involved, but influences are much stronger than we often give them credit for. The older we get the clearer this becomes. And once we have children, we start to understand. Suddenly I understand why my mom cared so much about the kids I hung around ☺! Those hoodlums really could affect my life choices ☺
Most kids in my world are blessed to have so much positive influence on their lives, from their youth group, to their families. They are surrounded by a group that loves them. But there could never be too much! I hope we all recognize this. At my church we do, and we are slowly moving to a more INTERGENERATIONAL MINISTRY approach. This method asks families and adults to walk right next to our teens. We want to be together and not segregated. We want the generations to know one another despite the massive gap that culture tells us is there.
I am convinced that relationship with adults who have truly been changed by Jesus are the key to showing young people what the Christian life is all about! We can have the biggest and fanciest programs in the world, but they will not matter without these relationships! I am asking all of you to join our youth ministry. Come to class with us. Sit with some teens in worship. Let's get to know each other and let’s show this world what power positive relationships really have. Together we can do anything!