This academic year we at Noddfa have revamped our youth ministry, moving it to a Friday evening and expanding it across two age groups.
The first session is for primary school aged children (6-7pm). They all come into the hall and get to pick the games or crafts they want to take part in and are rewarded with points for behaviour, achievement and creativity. We then gather together for prayer and a 10 minute Gospel message, then a warm snack, a final game and then home time.
The older group join us later (7:30-9pm). The format is the same, but the games are more mature, we have a Wii, a pool table and beanbags for those that wish to just sit on their phones and be miserable.
We gather together for prayer and a 10 minute Gospel message (that usually extends to 30 minutes with the Q&A). We break for a warm snack and then the young people can either continue with whatever they want to do, or join me for a more in depth Bible Study.
By God’s grace the evening has become very popular and we have built trusting relationships with the young people and their parent/guardian(s).
I have been able to counsel many of them one to one (from a Biblical perspective) on various issues they are facing, from bullying, peer pressure, drug use etc.
I have created the below sheet for our young people and their parent/guardian(s) that I will be handing out to them as a practical guide to help them get through such difficult situations.
I pray that it will be of use to any of you reading this.
Explanation of hand out
We Christians often find ourselves in sticky situations, we go astray with the same temptations as anyone else. But Praise be to God we have an escape! The Cross (x) of Christ Jesus!
At The Cross (x), in the greatest act of love known to man, Jesus Christ took the punishment we deserve for all the things we have done wrong, His wounds have healed us, so that we can return to our Holy God without fear.
Every time that we feel tempted or pressured into doing something we do not feel is right Christians can look to the cross where we are reminded of Jesus’ love for us and the price He paid for our sin.
The Cross (x) encourages us to distance ourselves from such temptations and gives us a place to seek forgiveness when we fail.
As a teenager have you ever found yourself in uncomfortable circumstances where you feel pressured to join in?
Have you taken part in activities that you knew were wrong, but did so because you could see no other way out?
Well at times such as these, think of the Cross (x) of Jesus Christ and type “x” into your phone and send it to a group message to your parent/guardian(s).
The “x” is just one letter, nobody will notice that you are sending it, or ask why. If they catch you, they will not know what it means anyway!
When your parent/guardian(s) receive the “x”, they are to call you immediately stating an emergency and that you need to come home quickly, they will explain all later.
(This is not a lie, the situation you are in is an emergency and you need to get out of it).
After the call, run home, you are free from danger!
Please use this only at times when you feel necessary, for this to work you need to maintain trust, do not cry wolf with your parent/guardian(s)!
As Christians come to the Cross (x) to receive forgiveness, when you’re young person sends you the “x” follow the aforementioned steps and do not ask them any questions about it when they get home.
Such interference might hinder them using your service in the future and who knows what they could get themselves into. Simply thank God that they had the sense to call upon you for help when the situation got too much for them.
Please be clear with your young person that they do have a duty of care to their fellow humans and must call the police if they know of anything criminal and that you are always available to support them through this process if they are willing to share.
Feel free to print and use the below…
If you are in danger think of the Cross (x) of Jesus Christ and type “x” into your phone and send for help.
‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ For ‘you were like sheep going astray, ’but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 2 Peter 2:24-25
I am totally indebted to Burt Fulks and his excellent blog for this idea!