Partners for Unleashing Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry,
The Twelve--different from but similar to Jesus' twelve disciples, Reach Out's twelve have spent approximately 250 years collectively applying Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry (JFYM). They have expressed a desire to join us to equip others. Last week Roger Palmer, Reach Out's National Director, prepared them for several hours for their new ministry. And Jeff Holloway's story delightfully illustrates the value of this training. Read on!
The Twelve Unleashed
Though our recent web-based training event for the twelve won't make CNN, it will, over time, have a significant spiritual influence on the younger generation and the church. For well over a year Roger and our team worked diligently toward this unleashing--honing the JFYM book, one day Forum, and year-long coaching process--all web-based.
Until now Roger Palmer has done all of our USA training--and he is very good! Now we have unleashed twelve Roger Palmers!
Each leader has a unique sphere of influence.
- They come from twelve different geographical areas--Georgia, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Connecticut, Mississippi, Florida, Kansas, and Arkansas.
- They represent Episcopal, Grace Brethren, Community, and Baptist churches plus the Navigators.
- Eight have a broader influence than their local church. Jake Kircher, for example, works with Reach New England and will equip churches in six states conducting six to nine Forums this year.
- Together they will lead a total of 55 JFYM Forums in 2011.
These twelve represent the first wave. Others will follow...like Jeff.
One of the Twelve
No one knew Jesus in Jeff Holloway's house. His grandmother, a believer, died when he was 13. He wanted to go to heaven where she was. He figured that if he lived a perfect life God would let him into heaven. He tried hard, but his frustration mounted. During his freshman year, Gary, a junior on his football team, took a special interest in Jeff. He could not figure out why. After practice one day Gary shared Christ with a friend while Jeff listened. Then Gary asked Jeff, "Have you done that?" "Yes," Jeff lied. He felt guilty! Later he cried out to God, "I can't live a perfect life. I even lie about Jesus. I need You. Will you change me?" He started crying, got the only Bible in the house--a huge Masonic Bible--and started to read. His twin brother asked incredulously, "What are you doing?" "I am reading the Bible to find out about God." From that point he knew he was a different person. Gary began to disciple him. In time everyone in his family came to know Jesus. It took ten years of living Christ in front of his dad until his dad surrendered to the Lord. On his deathbed, he shared Christ with his doctor. That was Jeff's last memory of his dad.
The Value of the Twelve
How does that story relate to the potential influence of the Twelve? In 1978 a group of youth leaders and students came to Super Summer Texas, begun by me in 1973. I trained the youth leaders that week in what is now Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry. The group from Crosby, Texas got it! One application of JFYM is to begin Prayer Triplets. Gary began one group and prayed for Jeff, which led to the story above. But there is more!
Later Jeff became the youth pastor at his church in Crosby. Twenty years later he is still there. Since August 58 kids have come to Christ through Jeff's application of the strategy that impacted his life in 1978. Imagine his influence over the years. Through tears he said to me, "I have wanted to say this to you for a long time. If it had not been for you training those leaders in JFYM in 1978, I don't know where I, my family or so many kids in Crosby would be today."
Humbled and encouraged, I realized how God used the JFYM training we did in 1978 for significant influence over time. But more, our much improved training with 12 newly unleashed leaders like Jeff will accelerate that training and multiply its influence exponentially. Then churches and younger generation leaders like the ones in Crosby will reach and disciple kids like Jeff across the USA!
Thanks to all who give to Reach Out to make this happen!