Giving God room to move
The Encounter staff members continually discuss the need to balance the level of information we give to young people with the level of opportunity we give them to apply it. It may sound like a basic concept, but if we’re not careful, we can often find ourselves relaying the messages that kids need to know without really giving them a chance to do something with the information.
While we must focus on sharing the Gospel, we must also be aware that young people don’t always know what to do once they hear it. After all, it’s not enough for the truth to reside in their heads -- it has to move into their hearts in order for true change to take place.
I recently was reminded of this through the story of a young man from one of our weekly ministry programs. “Scott” has been attending our Bike Church program for a couple of years now. He comes weekly to The Encounter to enjoy riding BMX bikes with friends, and each week he hears a lesson from one of the leaders sharing the truth of the Bible.
As he thought about what was being shared each week, he eventually felt ready to move forward. We make it a regular point to encourage young people to take “the next step,” realizing that may look different depending on where they are in their spiritual journeys. For Scott, this simply meant being willing to incorporate prayer into his life. He began to pray, and he also began to listen for God’s voice. As he did this, he began to feel God’s presence in his life, and he noticed that making better choices improved his overall situation.
As Scott shared this story recently with our staff members, he shied away from the notion that there was anything special about his story or what he was learning. He saw it as simply taking a step and allowing God to get involved in his life. However, we see it as something incredibly special and feel privileged to be part of a place where young people are beginning to move forward in their faith in ways like this. The journey to faith in Jesus Christ is often a series of steps, each one taking faith and trust. Especially for young people who don’t come from a religious background, the basic concepts of prayer and reading the Bible are often foreign and confusing.
Please continue to pray with us that the young people here will not only hear the truth as we share it, but also be willing to step forward in it, trusting God to meet them there. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that knowledge in the brain can move to a change in the heart.