Friday, April 18, 2014

Turning to Teens

Winter retreats, spring mission trips, corn-eating contests, small group hang out sessions, and lots and lots of dodge ball consumed a significant amount of our lives while we were working with high school students in Davis. We loved the kids, the leaders, and the activities. We were often as tired as basset hounds at the end of each program. It was (and still is) easy to see how the shaping of one’s Christian faith is critically important during those adolescent years.

While taking a short reprieve in South Africa a few weeks ago, we began to evaluate our ministry here and we noticed a need for people to pour into the high school-aged students, both on the farm and in the community. It may be interesting to note that the biblical knowledge of these kids (even those who are not Christians) is better than the average Christian in America. That being said, their faith may be shallow and riddled with confusing legalistic ideas and infusions from other spiritualistic beliefs. We thought, why not start a youth ministry that meets teens at different stages of faith to share a Christian message that is easy to understand?

These teens play a highly-competitive game of musical chairs.
Recently, Mandi and I, and our colleague, Tiersa, launched Teens For Christ. We had more than 25 high school-aged students come to the first meeting and an equally impressive crowd at the second meeting. It was awesome to see teenagers engage with faith questions and discussions in a way that is both different and inviting. We played games, I gave share a message about Jesus, had some small group discussions, and enjoyed popcorn afterwards.

Teaching about sin.
Lots of laughs, good questions and comments, and a plethora of high fives filled the preschool classroom where it is being held. This accomplishes many objectives of our ministry. It reaches out the community, we get to know the “farm” kids’ friends (like any good parent would want to!) and we form relationships with kids who are in desperate need for attention and affirmation. 

We are currently having Teens for Christ once a month and are looking in the possibility of expanding it to every two weeks. Please pray for this undertaking. Pray especially for relationships to be formed that will allow us to share our faith in a real way. Pray that we would be able to communicate clearly with the teens, and that they would be receptive to what we share. Most of all, pray that kids would come to know Jesus Christ in a personal way.


  1. Hi Tommy and Mandi, We're praying for you guys and love hearing your updates. Stay well and Happy Easter! Monleys

    1. Hi Anne, Thanks for remembering to pray for us! We miss you guys! Please give our love to the whole family.