Since January, People Teams has been discipling teens from many nations through weekly small group gatherings with Bible studies led by 8 adult mentors (mostly college students). Some of the gatherings involve basketball or soccer at Milestone gym; others just hanging out. Many of these teens attend a church in their own language, but some have no church. The kids appreciate this opportunity to get out of the house and have something to do. I’d like to say that they equally enjoy interacting with students of other ethnic backgrounds, but getting out of the comfort of their own people group seems to be a universal challenge that is slow to overcome.
Once a month, all of the groups gather with a youth group from one of our Association’s churches (usually Crossroads in Grain Valley, FBC Oak Grove, or Cedar Creek in Lee’s Summit) for games, worship, Bible study, and food. Various languages and cultures present challenges, but experiencing the global body of Christ is healthy for all involved. It’s especially good for the new Americans to see that there are American teens who love Jesus and are serious about following him. The teens from the Association’s churches do an incredible job of coming to serve; without them, these events would not be possible. I’m hoping that these teens are stretched to see that missions is not just about what I do for someone but it’s about being with them and learning to follow Jesus
alongside them. It’s about serving and allowing others to serve you, leading and raising up others to lead, contributing but finding God-given ways for them to contribute. If we model following Jesus and then get out of the way, we will be making disciples. This is a lesson that God is teaching me, and I’d like to pass it on to the next generation of missionaries in our youth groups.
The results that I’m most encouraged about are:
-lost teens from many backgrounds are seeing God’s plan of salvation unfold story by story.
-the college mentors are experiencing the joys of using their gifts to make disciples and seeing the patience and sacrifice required to consistently be in someone’s life as a mentor.
-some of the teens are growing in their ability to lead a Bible study in their own language. Last week, an 8th grader from Haiti shared the story of the Prodigal Son with three neighborhood kids who just happened to be there while a Congolese high schooler translated the discussion questions in Swahili for three other Congolese boys listening in.
-Some of the Sudanese girls are learning and being challenged to share their faith. They use their musical gifts in worship, and they can re-tell any Bible story that they hear almost word-for-word. They’re really special.