Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our God is Always There for Us

Parental suicide. Sexual molestation. Cutting. Drug addiction. Attempted suicide. Childhood brain tumor. Mother murdered. Bullying. Near fatal car accidents. Family member died of cancer. Family member battled cancer. Depression. Pill addiction. Many other problems too numerous to list. One God who has the power to overcome it all.

These were the stories of teens and young adults who gathered at Faith Community Church in Barre, Vermont, last night. As they do every Wednesday, young people played games, ate lots of food, hung out with friends and heard a challenging lesson from a caring youth worker. In this case, the teacher was Leo Dutil, a 20 year old young man who grew up in the youth group and is now preparing to become a youth minister. After sharing from James 2 on why we should be joyful when difficulties come into our lives, he then invited those present to come to the front and share a testimony of a time in their lives when God was there for them in the midst of great difficulty. At first, it was awkwardly silent as the microphone laid on podium waiting for someone to share their story of God's transforming grace. Then, one young lady came. Her story was painful, but God had been with her. Then another came. And another. A steady stream came to the front to share their story of pain, hurt and heartache and give God the glory for walking with them in difficult times. Nearly an hour later, when the Spirit was finished doing a deep work in the hearts of the nearly 100 young people present, the closing prayer was finally said.

The stories were moving. The praise that God was given was nothing short of miraculous considering that most of the young people come from non-Christian homes. But it is evident that the Spirit is calling many to faith in Christ and He often speaks through pain and difficulty. One young lady, whose mother died when she was two, and then her father committed suicide the following year, said, "I've been angry at God and I've tried running from Him. But I cannot get away from Him. He is always there. I need to run to Him, not away from Him." Another young person, one of the few who did grow up in Christian home, said, "Outwardly I was living a happy Christian life, but inwardly I was lonely and miserable. I decided to kill myself and as I put the razor blade to my wrist my older brother knocked on my door. He asked me to watch a Christian video and it changed my life." One young man said, "I was in a really bad car accident a few weeks ago. The car rolled over many times and I should have died. But someone kept me alive, I think it was God. Though I have never been religious, I'm coming to church now because I think I'm going to become religious." One young lady, whose siblings have bounced from foster home to foster home and whose biological family lost nearly everything they owned in a flood last year, said, "When you have lived the life I've lived, it is hard to believe in God because it does not seem like He has done much for you. But I know I need to believe because God is the only one who is always there for me."

Though some churches may be struggling to reach young people, other churches are seeing waves of unchurched young adults come to faith in Jesus. God has not given up on this generation, and neither must we. God has a plan. As we join God in His plan of reaching young adults, God will call all those whom have been chosen to Himself. What a blessing to be the means through which the God of the universe chooses to work. The next generation is a mess. Jesus is the answer. Let's stop complaining about how few of them come to church and let's roll up our sleeves and get to work reaching them.


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Find out how Faith Community Church learned to gather and reach so many young adults on a weekly basis in this exciting book, Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church, which tells the story of the church's youth ministry and reveals the principles they used.

28 comments:

  1. Awesome!!!! So beautiful and amazing to see God's hand at work! Thank you for sharing! This is truly the desire of my heart to see this generation rise up!

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  2. Awesome God at work in the hearts and lives of young people! Teenagers, Someone DOES care! Thanks Terry for sharing this testimony of God's grace reaching the hearts of hurting young people! Luke 10:2

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  3. Awesome!!!! So beautiful and amazing to see God's hand at work! Thank you for sharing! This is truly the desire of my heart to see this generation rise up!

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  4. Sherrill,
    Thanks for sharing. I love Luke 10:2!

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  5. Kim,
    We must keep praying and working. God has big plans for this generation. Can't wait to see what it is!

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  6. Thanks Terry. I pray that God will continue to bring kids on board here and we will be able to impact the young men and women of our community for Christ. They are a mess, and it's hard demanding work, but we have a mandate to love them through the mess in Jesus' name. One Wednesday Pat and I will come observe your ministry there...(wish it had been last night now.) Keep it up!

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  7. John,
    I more than "like" it. I love it!

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  8. Dave,
    Wish you and Pat had been able to come last night. Praying for you as you reach those in your area. God bless.

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  9. Thanks Terry,
    For the powerful description of God drawing broken people to Himself for redemption and extension of the body of Christ!
    Always stand firm and shine bright in Vermont, My Brother!

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  10. Thanks Jay and Chip,
    Your encouragment means a lot to me.

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  11. Thank's for sharing. As you know, I appreciate you and your ministry very much.

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  12. Great note as always!

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  13. terry, thanks for putting a recap to the whole night. it was emotional for everyone. although my story wasnt quite as bad as some of the others, i do thank everyone for taking the time to listen. thank you.

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  14. Mike, Susan, Josh and Brent,
    Thanks for your kind words. Pray for us as we serve the next generation and seek to turn their hearts toward the Lord.

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  15. Casey,
    Thanks for your comments. Each of us has our own story, and to us, our pain is real and deep, even if others do not think so. But the key is to give the pain to the Lord and let Him replace it with joy. I know you are growing in your faith and as you seek to know Christ more, let me know what I can do to help you on your journey.

    Terry

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  16. It was a tough night for all of theW kids but at the end it was good to get all the hugs and now we all know that people go throught the same things as us and how we can help each other

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  17. Sydney,
    Sharing our stories with others can be very difficult, but in the end, it always makes us better. It gets a lot of pressure off our chest, but it also helps us connect with other people who have gone through similiar challenges. Thanks for sharing your story with us.
    Terry

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  18. What a great testimony of faith, Terry! I'm so glad to know that there are churches out there who are able to reach these teens for Christ. Praying for God to establish more of them.

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  19. Thanks Krystine. I join you in praying for God to raise up more churches willing to reach teens. It may be messy, but it's worth it!

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  20. Cameron and Kelly LewisJune 29, 2012 at 7:28 AM

    Awesome! They are worth it!

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  21. That was good to read Terry.. Nice to hear God is working in VT. Great message at the end, touched my heart.. Thanks for sharing that story with us..We need to hear the good along with the bad..May God Bless you, and your work you, and your team doing.

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  22. Amazing. Thanks for sharing this.

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  23. It was an amazing evening. It helps to revitalize the youth leaders to know they are hearing what we are saying.

    Leo had a wonderful lesson. They love hearing from "one of their own" too.

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  24. Powerful to read, wish a church like this existed in every town.

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