Pain! Pain is pervasive in the younger generation.
Healing! Only in a place pervasive with love can pain find healing.

This month in Stephenville, Texas, speaking at Disciple Now, I saw how Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry applied creates a safe environment for kids to unload their pain.
It all started two years ago with an email I received from Kevin Miles, youth pastor at First Baptist. After 18 years of frustrating youth ministry activities, he was burned out. That started interactions that led Kevin to experience Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry. JFYM changed him. He explained it like this:
Kevin Miles -- How JFYM Changed My Ministry

Kevin Miles -- How JFYM Changed My Ministry

During the time Kevin and I have spent together, I saw two vital ministry realities that have created a healing environment for students.
Relational Disciple-Making

Students JFYM Retreat at the Lake
After the JFYM training, Kevin decided to apply JFYM by taking a group of eight students on a retreat. They went to a lake, slept in an RV, and met on a dock for three days. He took them through our Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry Notebook, and invited them into the vision for it. All said "yes!" As Kevin discipled them, over time those students created a ripple effect in the youth ministry. Now disciple-making buzzes around the youth ministry--as the youth leaders disciple the seniors, and the seniors lead disciple-making groups of younger students through Reach Out's Jesus No Equal book.
Pervasive Prayer  

Kevin and his "all in" students launched JFYM with Prayer Triplets. Students began praying in 3's for 3 of their friends to know Jesus. It became a weekly occurrence for students to bring the friends they prayed for to youth group and pray with them at the altar. One night the junior guys were missing... then the leaders found them in a classroom going through the Bible together. Wondering "Should we send a leader in there?" the leaders decided to leave them alone. A few minutes later they emerged having led the friend they prayed for to Jesus! 

The youth group made a Prayer Target comprised of 3 circles--red for students without Christ, yellow for students who had heard the gospel, and green for those who had received Jesus. Praying kids would put a tag on the board with their initials on one side, and the person's name they were praying for on the other side. Later when the Prayer Target came down, what a surprise to realize all of the new believers, a good number, had been prayed for by at least three Christians! The power of Matthew 18:19 demonstrated--if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be heaven.  
Pain Relief

When a ministry aligns itself with Jesus' vision of disciple-making and prayer, then loving relationships create a safe place for open hearts and shared pain.

That became clear the last night of Disciple Now. We concluded with a "Testimony Time." What these teens said astounded us leaders. From the first to the last, students stood and spoke through tears about... family issues, alcoholism, death of friends, abuse.... On and on they went for over an hour--about how these problems have ravaged their families and created so much pain.  

Astounded! The word kept ricocheting inside of me--that teenagers have that depth of pain, and the courage  to speak openly about it. The hidden pain came to the surface in the large group because the love expressed to them was genuine. In that safe place, healing happened before our eyes! 
Ripple Effect

The pain described above is real to almost every teenager in America. And the pain relief is found in a safe, love-filled relationship with Jesus and friends. Your prayers for Reach Out and your gifts to us create a ripple effect that empowers us to equip those who minister to these students--people like Kevin. And they, in turn, create a safe place for Jesus to heal teenagers' pain! Thank you!
Jesus is Lord,     
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