Lately, I’ve become increasingly aware of the plight of persecuted Christians throughout the world. Right now as I write this, countless Christians are being martyred for their faith. In many countries, believers are being rejected by their families, are losing jobs and their homes because they’ve given their lives to Christ. These men and women are so in love with Jesus, they’re willing to risk everything for the sake of knowing Him and making Him known.
Yet in the United States, it’s hard to find enough people to lead our Sunday school classes. I’ve often wondered the reason for the difference. Do we love Christ less here? Do we not understand the reality of eternity?
Honestly, tomorrow’s Christianity depends on God working through the youth of today, and everything we do as parents either helps or hinders kingdom expansion.
Last week I had the privilege of spending a day with Bob and Joy Caldwell, founders of Global Encounter, a ministry that trains tomorrow’s leaders through inner-city and international missions and in-depth teaching. Bob is helping to change this downward spiral we often see in the United States by building teens up then setting them loose to do God’s work.
“I feel like, if we’re not careful, what we’re going to do with teenagers is unintentionally as a church say, ‘You guys are the ones who’ll go play wiffle-ball with the kids and then we’ll do all the biblical teaching,'” Bob said. “I’m convinced that even though these students at age fourteen may not be the quality teacher that a sixty-year that is precious to the kingdom and very valuable to the kingdom and has been doing it for thirty-years, they may not be that teacher, but they never will become that teacher if we don’t give them the opportunity. It’s imperative that adults—man, be there, pour into them, absolutely, you know, advise, but not take control. We use the phrase, pick ‘em up by the seat of their pants and throw them in the farm pond. They swim every time because God’s the one that’s taking care of them.”
The results are phenomenal! Bob and his team continue to raise the bar, and these teens continue to surpass leadership expectations. The multiplication has been exponential. Adults who participated in the program as teens now lead youth groups and bring their teens to Global Encounter.
Over the next few months I’ll be writing articles on Global Encounter, their interns and teens, and what I witnessed during the 2011 Kansas City projects for Salena Storm, Nicole O’Dell from Teen Talk Radio, Steve Austin from the Attic, Laura Polk from Moms Together, Young Adult author Shellie Neumeier, and others, then I’ll link to the articles from here. Make sure to stop by these sites to get to know this phenomenal ministry and its leaders better!
Global Encounter Ministries: