As I (Joel) write this from my kitchen table, I am in absolute awe of what God has done in the lives of our young people in the last 13 months. The only way I can describe what I am in the midst of is a youth movement. Approximately 200 teens are attending our weekly Vertical student service, 70 teens are participating in our leadership/discipleship program and recently we saw over 500 students attend our Oktoberfest outreach event. Things in our church’s youth group looked much differently 13 months ago.
Just over a year ago, Casey and I decided to become the student pastors at Freedom House church. So we packed up our son, Lincoln (age 6), our daughter, Reagan (age 3) and all of our belongings and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. When we arrived, we were blessed to meet some incredible youth leaders and 60 amazing 7th-12th grade students.
Though each of the 60 students attending the youth group then were incredible, Casey and I felt God wanted us to reach many more young people in this area. As Scripture says, “The Lord is not . . . willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God was desiring more of his children to — “repent” — and come to know him personally. And that’s exactly what we began to see happen in our student ministry. Our youth group has grown from 60 to over 200 in 13 months.
God is moving in an incredible way in our student ministry, here, at Freedom House church. While I believe God has a unique way to reach the students in your area — through your local church — I do believe there are some principles that have helped facilitate the growth that is happening here. Over the next posts, I will be outlining some of these principles. My prayer is that your youth group will triple in the next 13 months as well.
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