Friends for Expanding God's Kingdom through Relationships,                                                            July 2015 

"In the end relationships mean everything." Thomas Merton said it. And this ministry update illustrates it.

Last month Reach Out led our first Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry training for the Anglican Church of North America. Small by design, we invited some key players in Anglican Youth Ministry circles--Don Shepson, Youth Ministry Professor, Montreat College, Collin Setterberg, Georgia Tech Anglican Fellowship leader, Steven Tighe, Young Anglican Project national leader, plus others like them. We explored Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry for personal implementation and for assisting Anglican churches to develop more robust youth ministries.

Foley Beach, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of North America, has enthusiastically endorsed JFYM, and Jonathan Adams, Rector of the Village Church at Vinings in Vinings, GA led the Forum with me. Both engaged in this because of our relationships.

Anglican Church of North America Forum Attendees

Foley Beach, Archbishop   

Foley served as an intern with Reach Out in the 1970s--his first ministry experience. God imprinted strong ministry principles in his life through that experience--daily time with God, praying for students, building leaders, discipling students, and evangelism. Later as the youth pastor at Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta the ministry grew from 3 students to over 1000 through implementing Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry. The relationship we started then has lasted until now.

Last October I attended Foley's Investiture Service as the new Archbishop. As I listened to his message I heard "the same Foley" that I knew all those years ago--Gospel-centered and multiplying the church by making disciples. Afterward we hugged and he said, I caught your eye when I spoke about discipleship. I learned that going through your books. After that he and I decided to introduce Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry to as many Anglican churches as possible. That will happen now because of our relationship started years ago.
Foley Beach about Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry (0:55)
Jonathan Adams, Rector

Jonathan Adams and I became friends in 1997, and he became like a son to me. He agreed to write about our relationship that now has led us to train Anglican youth leaders together.     

Jonathan, Foley, and Me--Friends Over the Years   

Barry's uncle, Walter St. Clair, an evangelist, had a close relationship to my family through First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. "Brother Walter" knew that God had called me into ministry. When he found out that I needed to do an internship for college, he introduced me to his nephew, Barry. I came to do the summer internship, and Barry and I became fast friends. Then Barry invited me to travel with him on weekends through the fall and spring while I finished college, and he gave me the opportunity to speak to teenagers. That's when I fell in love with teenagers, youth ministry, and Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry to reach and disciple them.


After graduation I worked full-time with Reach Out for eight years. Barry and I traveled the world together, training youth leaders in Eastern Europe, Russia and the Caribbean. We built plenty of memories! During those years I married Jana, my high school sweetheart, completed my degree at Southeastern Baptist Seminary, and we had our first child. When we moved to Atlanta and were expecting our second child, my responsibilities with Reach Out changed to stay at home more. Then the Lord completely changed my plans. Church of the Apostles in Atlanta invited me to lead their student ministry. Over the years I fully implemented JFYM, and the ministry grew from 25 unmotivated students to over 400 on-fire students. Today, as an Anglican church-planter, JFYM undergirds our church strategy.


Through Foley Beach's enthusiasm for JFYM, Barry and I ministered together again at the first Anglican JFYM training. We plan to train many more youth leaders in our diocese, with the next opportunity on October 8. Having Barry as my friend and mentor has been one of the great privileges of my life!    


Because of my friendship with Foley and Jonathan, we have high hopes for Anglican youth ministries!  


With Foley, Jonathan, and you--in relationship with others, Reach Out can equip more leaders to bring more kids into a dynamic relationship with Jesus. Thank you for your role in this relational adventure! Relationships do mean everything in God's Kingdom!


Jesus is Lord,  


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