Tasha Morrison – We Build a Bridge
Most of our society and churches are racially segregated. If the church won’t be the answer, who will be the answer? If we don’t address it, who will? We say that Jesus is the answer. Kids need discipleship and part of that discipleship is racial reconciliation.
“My journey took me to a Garth Brooks concert. I never want to do that again.”
When you step out of your comfort zone it’s a little awkward and messy.
80% of what kids learn is from their parents. 20% is from outside sources such as your church leaders. Where our friendships begin, and when we have proximity in relationships, that’s where assumptions and stereotypes die. Maybe as a youth leader, you can address what the pastor might not be able to address.
Look at your social media. How can I be better? How am I learning from people who are different than me? How can I begin to live outside of my racially segregated box?
The way you start, what to think about, is beginning with the first step. Invite someone new to the table. Find someone culturally different than you. Do something you have never done before. When you come to the table together you can learn about my story, perspective, and experiences. God created us differently. This is about unity and oneness, not sameness.
Diversity makes us richly blessed.
Reggie Joiner – We Do Something We Don’t Have To Do
Party- Any effort to CELEBRATE, SERVE, or ENJOY each other in ways that adds value to life.
If starting over with a group of 9th graders the first thing Reggie would do would be to start enlisting kids to do something and to serve. Collecting the names of 9th and 10th graders who are leading. Invite them to a big party. I want to invite you to be the student leadership team in this town. You represent 20 different churches in different schools. I believe if this town is going to change it will begin with you. The day before mother’s day. Gave buckets of roses. Sending them out to make a difference. Serving changes the way that someone else sees you. When you do something you don’t have to do, it takes your faith to another place. The dilemma, student leadership team meeting 4th Sunday of every month but what am I going to tell them?
Here are the 7 things I want you to have and start with.
Do something you don’t have to do. Attached to something you see at a party. Food
Invite someone new to the table. Chair. New, not someone you don’t know but someone who is not like you. We Dine Together. Invited to the same table, and transformed the school by spending time with people who are new. We are called to be in the world but not of the world but many of us forget that first part. Learn the difference between racial prejudice vs. racism. “We know you aren’t a racist, we just want to know if you are anti-racist.” Racism is not your fault but it’s your problem; it’s our problem. We have to join side by side and declare war against anything that goes against what Jesus taught us. In the story of the good Samaritan it wasn’t hate that was the bad example, it was indifference.
Fast Forward someone else’s dream. Gift. Give the gift of generosity. We are created in the image of a generous God. Don’t look out for your own interests. When you invest your treasure your heart follows.
Inspire every kid you meet. Balloon. Stop and pause to look into the eyes of a child. Jesus said to His disciples to allow the children to come to Him. “When you welcome one of these children, you welcome Me.” -Jesus. Something happens to a culture and community when children matter. Teach them to serve children. The church would collapse without them. Changing the teenager more than the kid when you invite them to serve.
Create beautiful spaces. Flower. What we do when we care about the spaces around us is almost a way for us to say to the people around us that there is hope. God is the God of restoration. When you put makeup on, cut the grass, restore spaces, you are doing the work of a heavenly Father who created a beautiful world. Can we say we care about people when we don’t care about the places they live in? Help the next generation restore something that is broken.
Speak up for someone else. Flag Banner. We raise the flag when we use our voice. If you have a voice you have influence. If you have influenced you have a responsibility. Raise your voice to be passionate about what Jesus was passionate about. The marginalized and poor. When someone was being abused. When power was being abused. We should be bothered because we represent a God who said to love our neighbors.
Discover life together. Coffee Cup. Sharing a drink of coffee. When we are in a community together, transformation happens. Every kid needs a consistent leader in their life. Their chance of a mobilized faith is a consistent leader who points them to Jesus. Here’s how I want the church to win. Put a consistent leader in the life of every kid. When you do this the town wins. Community does something that therapy, presentations, and a sermon can never do. Community get’s to the core of who we are and what we do. Think about the preventive work that you are doing because you are putting kids and teenagers into a relational community. When they hit a wall, they have someone to run to. The role of the church is to give kids safe places, to give resources so that leaders can be better in creating a community for kids. You can never do faith alone and win.
When I do these 7 things, God becomes alive to me. Instead of just coming together and learning, this sets them up for experiencing authentic faith.