Why Would I?
Denver Area Youth For Christ
“The poor live with less padding between them and the raw forces of life. The mystery of existence is always showing through the texture of their ordinary lives.” ~ Flannery O’Conner
Why would a 40 something, single, white suburban woman want to minister to at-risk teenagers? Here’s why I do it - maybe these reasons might resonate with you:
1. Jesus asks us to. My first recollection of feeling called to this ministry was that Jesus asked us to minister to the poor, hurting and in prison. If we love Jesus, we love what he loves and this is just the beginning of where he asks us to go.
2. Youth in crisis are hungry to hear the gospel. Most people in America don’t want to hear anything about Jesus. But when I joined a friend on one of her visits to juvenile detention, I saw how honest, hurting and hungry these young people were to hear the Gospel. I felt the love Jesus has for lost people. Incarcerated youth long to hear they are loved and that their lives have meaning and purpose. What a great opportunity to share the gospel with teenagers who are hungry to hear about Jesus!
3. I wanted more. I wanted to do more, be more, grow more in Christ than I had just sitting in church. I’d participated in almost every part of my church but nothing had engaged every part of me…heart, mind, body and soul. I longed for the discipleship and life Jesus talked about. Working with incarcerated youth engaged me in discipleship, stretched my faith, captivated my heart and catapulted my prayer life as I began to grow in exponential ways in Christ.
Jesus called us to discipleship because it changes the world. These youth see Jesus lived out in front of them in a relationship, not in miraculous signs, but through “the ordinary textures of our lives”. I see Jesus in the “raw forces of life” and behold his wonderful, mysterious work. As Jesus reveals himself through me and in them, I am awestruck by His infinite capacity for kindness, hope, love and His relentless mercy. I walk away rejoicing in the salvation I already know and see more clearly the depths and heights of His amazing love for us. I see and experience the life Jesus meant for us. Perhaps you will too!