1 Thessalonians 2:8
So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
At Friends of Refugees, we are blessed by the diversity of the community that we serve. The difference in thought, in language, in culture, in belief, make the world a more beautiful place. In Clarkston, we are honored to have people, in all the ways that they are different and the same, living in our precious little city.
One of the goals of Friends of Refugees is to be a scaffold for the church. We provide the structure and the clients for churches and individuals to come in and serve. While we are not a church, we hope that we provide a pathway for people who love Jesus to minister to those who don't know him yet.
Cross-cultural ministry is very different than ministering to people who are like yourself. And youth ministry is its own beast in general. That's why, in Youth Programs, we use the 1 Thessalonians 2:8 as a model for how we share the Gospel with the youth.
Our ministry starts with a real love for the people we are serving. Just as Jesus took the time to get to know the 12 disciples inside and out, we take our time getting to know the youth well. Jesus shared all of himself with the the 12. They walked together, talked together, and lived together. We do what we can to be a part of the lives of our youth, going to soccer games, eating dinner together, and talking about the important things in life are just a few of the ways we can love the youth well. We share our lives because we love them so much.
Because we are believers in Jesus, because of how we live our lives as followers of him, when we share our lives, we are sharing the gospel. When we talk with the youth about our own hard experiences and how we get through them, we are teaching them about Jesus. They know who we are and what we believe. They know that because of what we believe we will love them no matter their beliefs. That love and support that we are able to offer because of God's love for us, is what draws people to believe in him.
And while we would love to see every youth following Jesus, we know that no matter what they believe, God created them with beauty and purpose. We also know that they were given into a biological family to watch over and guide them through life. There is a tension between wanting the youth to know Jesus and wanting them to be obedient to their parents. It can be a tricky business. That's why we pray for whole families to come to Christ together.
In YP, we don't proselytize as you might in a church youth group or small group. We don't do altar calls, evangicubes, or lead a prayer for salvation. When we do teach from the Bible or have prayer times, we make sure the youth know that it is their choice to participate, and many of them do.
We surround youth with people who love them like Jesus does. We show them who our God is by being the people he created us to be.
Our youth know that they are loved. They know they are cared for. They know that the reason we are here to hang out with them in because of the impact of a Savior on us.
And I think that is beautiful.