Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Spiritual Foundations

Overwhelmed. I suppose that is the word that best describes my first year as the Director of Ministries with Young People for the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. I have had the wonderful opportunity to interact with thousands of young people and hundreds of youth leaders. It is amazing to watch six hundred teenagers proclaim the name of Christ in word and song. To hear testimonies about how God is working in their life and to pray with them at the end of a worship service. This may well have been the most powerful year of my ministry. But the work is not done, as a matter of fact, it has only begun.

The Barna Research Group asserts that if a person does not make a life-changing commitment to Christ before their 19th birthday there is a 94% chance they never will. Additionally, their 2003 report stated that 58% of youth attending youth groups today won’t be attending church by their 30th birthday. [1] The need for intensive, intentional and Christ-centered youth and young adult ministry is more acute now than ever before. We have to create environments where youth and young adults can make faith commitments in a non-coercive, non-threatening manner. We have learned over the years that fear-based commitments only last as long as the heat is on. We need to facilitate true “heart warming” experiences in the tradition of John Wesley. In order to do this we need to shore up the spiritual foundations of the Ministries with Young People division.

John Wesley once said, "Give me one hundred men [or women] who love only God with all their heart and hate only sin with all their heart, and we will shake the gates of hell and bring in the kingdom of God in one generation." This is the generation to do that, but we need your help. In order to shore up the spiritual foundations for our entire ministry we are recruiting one hundred Prayer Partners. These one hundred men, women or couples will commit to praying for the ministry, for me as the Director and for Nilse Furtado, the assistant director. During the summer you will pray daily for the summer staff and, perhaps, adopt one as your personal prayer focus.

Each month you will receive a prayer update listing the current ministry and personal prayer needs for me, the staff and the entire the MYP division. It will contain reflections, ministry events that need your prayers as well as Marty and Nilse’s personal requests and travel schedule so that you can hold them up before God as they move across the jurisdiction. Our goal will be to host a prayer summit for Prayer Partners, perhaps as early as March 2006, to lay the spiritual foundation for the summer events, grow in our spiritual lives together and pray for one another.

Would you consider partnering with us to shape the next generation of youth and young adult leaders for the United Methodist Church? Will you pray for God to work to allow us to reach more young people with the life-changing message of Christ? Will you commit to spending time before God on behalf of the next generation? If so, please complete the enclosed card and get it back to me as soon as possible or email me at youngpeople@sejumc.org

I look forward to God moving mightily thanks to your prayers. I remain:

Lost in Grace,

Reverend Marty Cauley,

[1] http://www.youthspecialties.com/articles/topics/pastpresentfuture/scenarios.php

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