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Introducing Our City's Youth to Christ

by Christian Meeks on July 29, 2022

When Young Life first started in St. Louis it consisted of just a small committee, a few people committed to impacting the lives of kids and teens with the Gospel. Since its humble beginnings though, Young Life has flourished. Multiple staff have been hired, and the ministry has expanded to neighborhoods throughout the city. It has broadened the scope of their work as well, recently adding a ministry to teen moms. Recently, Central member and elder John Holmes spoke with Central’s Missions team to talk about the value of being in a local ministry for a long period of time, and “the chance to build a legacy of leadership.”

Young Life is a faith-based non-profit whose mission is to introduce kids to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith. Young Life reaches out to middle school, high school, and college students in all 50 of the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world. They meet kids wherever they are and build relationships with them. This is done through a variety of fun, adventurous, life-changing and skill-building large group experiences. Through these activities, the Young Life staff and volunteers work to earn the right to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the kids and disciple them.

This past summer, the St. Louis team took a group of high school kids to Young Life’s outreach camp, while the ministry to teen moms (called Young Lives) took a group of moms and their babies to a special outreach camp designed just for them. Along with camp, lots of small group hangouts—including mentorship and discipleship—have occurred throughout the summer.

For John, reaching young people with the Gospel has been his life’s passion for more than 27 years. Helping kids meet Jesus, grow in their faith, and become leaders of others is why he continues the work that he does. It can be very exhausting, with some successes and many hardships. According to John, “I can think of nothing more important than empowering the next generation of urban youth to live into their God-given potential. It is why I continue the work after all these years.”

God is at work in the lives of kids and leaders each and every day. Often, we don’t see the fruit but when we do, it serves as a reminder of God’s faithfulness. Young Life has had countless numbers of kids meet Jesus and as they’ve matured into adulthood, come back to serve others. It is beautiful to see the ministry’s mission lived out: disciples making disciples.

The biggest prayer needs right now have to do with leaders being able to return to schools this fall. For the past two years, outside adults have been by-and-large not allowed to be inside school buildings. This has made it really hard to meet kids and grow the ministry. Hopefully the schools’ policies will be relaxed this year, providing more opportunities for leaders to engage with the kids. There is also always a need for more volunteers to help with Young Life’s fall programming. Volunteers are a critical part of how the ministry grows.

Getting involved is as simple as calling or emailing John ( ). John has given updates in various Sunday School classes as well. There are many different ways to get involved depending on what you like to do and how much time you have to give. If you would like to learn more, John would be more than happy to speak with you.

Tags: st. louis, missions, teens, young life

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