Inner City Youth Alive
WINNIPEG - God is raising up young leaders in the North End. Thank you for partnering with me in the work of leadership development! Every summer we hire local youth to join our staff teams in our camp and city programs. This summer we had seven local youth join our summer teams.
At Gem Lake Wilderness Camp these leaders spent their days helping children, youth and their families have a blast swimming, fishing, making crafts and playing games as well as performing in skits that connected good news from the Bible with real issues of the campers’ lives. Young leaders who were part of the Bridge team helped lead VBS Day camps here in the city. They guided children through games, crafts, singing and Bible times at ICYA and field trips to parks and the beach (as in the picture above). These young leaders brought energy and enthusiasm to create a fun atmosphere and showed patience and kindness to kids who were having a bad day. They showed firmness when needed. They listened to children’s questions about God and gave thoughtful answers. They took prayer requests and prayed with kids.
This fall we want to keep building up and walking with these young leaders. I have started a weekly Youth Apprentice group with youth who were summer staff, who volunteer regularly with us and who are staff in our drop-in during the year. In October we will be starting Discipleship Group for these leaders as well other youth who want to connect and grow in their faith. I will be leading this group together with a North End leader from YFC and she will bring some of the youth she is connected with to join our group. I am grateful for her assistance and we are excited about partnering in this way.
This week when I met with our Youth Apprentices we explored the story of Moses’ call to leadership in Exodus 2-3. There is a lot about the biblical story of Moses that our local leaders can relate to. Moses shows leadership potential when he steps in and intervenes when he sees one of his fellow Hebrews is being beaten by an Egyptian. The youth recognized that there was something good about Moses’ standing up to injustice, but that Moses didn’t handle it the right way and ended up killing the Egyptian.
Leadership equals influence - but that influence can be for good or for harm.
The next day when Moses tries to exercise leadership again, telling two Hebrew men to stop fighting, they reject his leadership, “Who appointed you to be our prince and judge?” The young leaders could all relate to this. They have had experiences where people didn’t trust or receive their influence, saying, “Who are you? Why should I listen to you?” Haven’t we all?
After Moses flees Egypt and becomes a fugitive herding sheep in the desert, God finds him and calls him to go back to Egypt and lead his people to freedom. God sees Moses’ passion to bring about justice for his people and calls Moses to something connected to this passion. I talked with the leaders about how God also takes our stories, our experiences, our skills and our passions and calls us to lead in ways that utilize these things.Moses objects to God’s call, feeling inadequate or disqualified: “Who am I to do this?” Again, the young leaders and I could all relate to this feeling. But God responds to Moses saying, “I will be with you.” We closed by asking God to be with us in the things he is calling us to.
Please join us in praying for these local leaders to grow in their sense of identity and calling from God. Pray that the mistakes they make and the rejection they sometimes experience will not crush or deter them. Ask God to show them clearly how they are called to live as they move on from the summer and into the challenges and opportunities of school, friends and family. Pray that they would know God is with them.
Home church: Altona EMMC, Manitoba