Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Generation Change

I took a handful of our youth ministry team to The Core last weekend in Denver. I've never been able to go to Youth Specialties' National Convention, but have gone to these 1-day trainings a couple times. Les Christie was the presenter and did a good job talking about the transformation that needs to happen in our lives if we have any hope of transforming students' lives and our world.

The part that stood out most to me was the third session when he talked about various approaches to justice. He contrasted the short-term physical nature of a lot of youth ministry service projects and mission trips with the deep systemic response that is necessary to truly transform situations of injustice.

The examples of students who've responded at this deep-justice level were very encouraging. There were several examples of young people, like Zach Hunter, who have started truly globe-changing initiatives. Here are some links to some of what was shared:

BiteBack - Compassion's student-induced response to malaria (which our student ministry will be participating in soon).
Hoops of Hope - basketball free throw-a-thon to benefit AIDS orphans - started by a boy who saw 2057 kids per day being orphaned as a big problem and decided to do something to help.
Loose Change to Loosen Chains - Anti-slavery (yes it is still happening) movement started by a 7th Grader (yes, they do amazing things), Zach Hunter (who is now a whopping 15 and lists his occupation as Abolitionist/Student on his myspace page)
Friends United - a ministry started by a HS student to connect special needs students with caring peers (this link is to a video that is well worth waiting for)

"We're too young to know that some things are impossible, so we will do them anyway." William Pitt in Amazing Grace

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