the thing about praying

As I’ve commited this month to praying for youth in our church, I’ve been amazed at how God has both answered and challenged me.

That’s really the thing about praying, isn’t it?

The more you commit to hearing God’s voice, the more you actually do – and sometimes, you find He’s telling you something entirely different than you expected to hear.

We’ve been praying specifically about youth – how to start a youth program in this community, how to reach the kids in a way that really connects with them, what sort of curriculum and teaching styles, even making plans and setting dates – and yesterday, in a few conversations with Tom, we realized that God’s calling us to something more.

We are in a position that not many churches find themselves in.

We’re starting from scratch. We’re not trying to rebuild or restart a program. There’s nothing to dismantle, no sacred cows to tiptoe around. At the moment, we have a youth Sunday School that works and nothing else for any age group.

We have a clean slate, a fresh start and get to lay the rails our selves…to use every cliche I can think of.

Which means we can do youth ministry the way Tom has always wanted to – as part of a larger family ministry. For 16 years, he’s watched youth ministries do a great job at planning fun events and even discipling youth…but in more cases than not, the families remain unchurched and unchanged. We’ve watched as kids and youth learn to love church events…but fall away from God once they graduate to big church and they’re no longer being so actively entertained. And we’ve watched over and over as kids come to church, find faith and lose it quickly because there is no family support.

The one overwhelming need God has placed on our hearts from the first is that we reach beyond just youth to their families – whatever those families happen to look like – He’s calling us to reach out to the families of this community and to serve them.

We still don’t know what that’s going to look like, ultimately, but God has given us a clear vision of a few first steps that I’m excited about taking. So we plan and we start with what He’s given us…and we just keep praying. God’s got a timeline for it all – it might be a six month plan or it might be a six year plan – and we’ll keep praying and working as He shares it with us.

Will you continue to pray with us?