Every month Faith News Niagara shares stories of what God is doing through his people in this area. I know of so many people who are faithfully serving God, and many of those people could benefit from the body of Christ coming alongside them and offering tangible help, support, and encouragement.
Recently, someone told me I should tell my story. I actually feel more comfortable putting the focus on others. But I should, at least once, make the connection very clear between my love for new media and technology, and my passion for youth ministry. After all, I've been asked, why launch a website if I'm called to ministry? Why poor energy into something not related to my passion?
I'll go back to when I was 18 to answer that. I was sitting in a church service one Sunday, listening to the pastor, when I got very excited at whatever he was sharing—I don't remember the topic but it was probably God's grace. Whatever it was, it had me literally on the edge of my seat.
I wondered how my peers were responding to this message. I craned my neck upward to try to get a feel for what the other teens in church were experiencing that morning. Sitting at the back, I couldn't see any faces, but I did see slumped bodies and hunched-over heads… bad optics that just screamed out, ”bo-rring…”
I was heartbroken. I thought that this was one sermon my age group would really get excited over. I didn't understand the lacklustre response. Was it the preacher’s non-animated style? He'd admit years later that his earlier sermons weren't really charged with emotion. Perhaps if he were more animated in his delivery, more physically engaging. Why didn't he inflect more here, or pause more there? Man, if I were him, I'd say this to them, or I'd say that another way. If I were giving this message I'd add this, take away that, say this first, say that next…
I was continuing with my critique when I strongly sensed someone telling me, “Well, why don't YOU say it?"
Back then, I was the last guy to ever set foot on a stage. I'd never independently think a thought like that. But it was a thought in my head! Then I began wondering… did I just hear from the Lord?
Later that year, I’d serve for the first of 11 years at a Christian summer camp, followed by six years with an American missions organization. Along the way, I’d volunteer at three different youth drop-in centres, and help put on various youth oriented events, including a monthly jam night for Beamsville kids for three years. So, yeah, I think I heard from God.
Twenty-seven years later, I still have an unquenchable desire to talk to teens and tell them that their perception of spiritual things is likely skewed. Most of the kids I've ever met have had a view of God, Jesus, faith, church—all the important, foundational things to our faith—that is skewed. So I want to speak truth to the beliefs they currently hold.
Speaking truth to reverse the lies. That, folks, is my passion. No doubt about it.
Media and tech are things I am extremely interested in. But my passion is to get kids as excited about God, Jesus, Faith, church… as I was that morning 27 years ago. I want to see teens so excited about Jesus, they can't help but sit on the edge of their seats when thinking about him.
I've watched God speak to teens written off as I'm interested in the Gospel. I've watched those teens respond to every word they heard. I believe that God will make sure his message gets through to teens because he wants them to know who he really is. He wants them to know the truth about him.
Brief segue: make sure you read the interview we did with Charleen, a young Christian girl that gives great insight into the group of people I long to be used by God to reach. There are many like her, facing struggles and challenges too big to face alone. Wouldn't it be great to see God make a difference in their lives?
Getting back to love for media vs. passion for ministry: I use media to do ministry. That's why Faith news Niagara was born. Media multiplies your message. It takes you to places you may never go, and puts you in front of people you may never meet otherwise. It's a tool the secular world uses regularly, and I believe it can be used for the Kingdom.
I take my love for media, and combine it with my passion for ministry, to multiply the effectiveness of what is done in the name of Jesus. And I am looking to you to help me do this.
Based on how he's worked in the past, I see God speaking to many youth through events like the ones I'm talking about. But as of March 1 I am officially laid off from YFC/Youth Unlimited because I do not have enough financial partners to help pay for my expenses. In fact, I've been short on support, and in jeopardy of having my deputation account run out, for some time.
Another reason for the birth of FNN was to find support from businesses in exchange for recognition on the website—or sell ad space, if you're so inclined—and the sales from this would go to my YFC account. But anyone knowledgeable in online commerce will tell you that the funds don't always come in immediately.
I am not a businessman. I just play one on the Internet. Neither am I a sales person, or a fund-raiser—someone who raises funds. I am a minister. And I know I will reach kids others won't, with the unique abilities that God has gifted me with. But while I am happy to be a modern-day Paul the Apostle, and operate FNN in a tent-making situation, I also need the help of our community, because one source of funding will not cancel out the other.
It's time to solidify my salary situation at YFC. Respond to this appeal: I'm looking for 100 people to commit to $10 a month. Or 50 people to commit to $20 a month. Or 25 people to commit to $40 a month. Essentially, I need $1000 a month to stay at halftime status with YFC. I'm also looking for people to help me find potential givers. It's easier to attain the goal if 10 people find 10 people to give $10, for instance.
This link takes you to samuels-website.com, which details how to give literally he from anywhere, in any way—via phone, online, or traditional mail. This one tells you more about “Teens Are Amazing”— what better name to give these events in my opinion. Because teens are amazing, and these events will stress that to them in a way that points them to Jesus. I will be looking for partners until the end of August. Be one of them. Because God will speak truth to youth this ministry.