TESTIMONIALS & MISSION MOMENTS
Start the New Year with New Resources for Youth Workers:
The Chest of Visions: Secrets of Caperston
Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings
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Making a Difference with Christian Youth
Like many I have had the opportunity to hear Billy Graham preach in person – in my case twice.
The first was as a ten year old at the old Madison Square Garden in 1957 with my parents. I recall the music of the 3,000 person choir led by Cliff Barrows, particularly their rendition of “Just As I Am” at the end of Dr. Graham’s sermon. I recall feeling the presence of the Spirit of God touching my heart but, as a ten year old with my parent’s present, I was hardly ready to take those steps to the floor of the Garden at the call at the end of the service. It was the first time that I clearly understood that our Christian faith was a personal, individual experience not simply a community worship experience with parents and friends at our local place of worship.
Of course, the other memory that remains to this day was of George Beverly Shea singing his powerful and moving version of “How Great Thou Art” with the 3,000 person choir backing him up. Though we often sing this song in our worship services today, back in 1957 it was never sung in the Baptist Church on Long Island (New York) which we attended. The church left this song for the crusade and it made it that much more special to hear.
Forty-eight years later my wife and I attended a Billy Graham Service in Queens. New York. It was held on a Sunday afternoon and we were returning from a visit to a Hindu Service at a church a friend of ours attended. We were unaware of the Billy Graham meeting as we travelled to that Hindu service.
This was our first visit to a Hindu place of worship and our three hours with a Hindu congregation left us in a contemplative mood. On the way home a billboard on the side of the road announced the service by Billy Graham. We were ready to hear him.
Little did we know that this would be the last public sermon that Dr. Graham would preach (At least, as depicted in newspaper reports the next day.) Once again George Beverly Shea, now 99, sang his version of “How Great Thou Art”.
The topic of the sermon was the story of Noah, how Noah had to make a decision – to obey or not to obey a rather unusual directive from God. Billy Graham did his usual wonderful job of telling this Bible story just the way it was written but with a passion for the Word of God. In the story God, noting Noah’s faithfulness, called him to build an ark for his family and all living creatures of the earth. He had to act alone at the instructions of God. The rest of the world was going their own way.
The message was a simple one and Dr. Graham asked each of us: have you ever found yourself all alone, taking a stand for what you deem to be correct while being questioned by all others around you. It made me think about times I have taken stands out of faith when logic said otherwise. Not as often as perhaps I should have but there have been times. Those few times resulted in blessings beyond which I could have imagined could occur.
Billy Graham was a humble man, giving all the credit for his success to God. His life of commitment is as influential to me as any of his sermons but the two times I heard him, in person, were impactful.
We live in troubled times in America. The country is separated into factions that are unbearable to observe. Many, who deem themselves conservative, and many, who choose to follow liberal standards, appear to have less tolerance for each other than at any time during my lifetime.
It is a lonely place trying to be the mediator at this time. The mediator is attacked by both sides of the ideological segments of the world. The Christian Church even has become ideological.
Perhaps the tragedy at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School will be the moment that people look to those things we can agree upon and focus less upon their differences. The articulated determination of the youth of this country to bring about needed change is commendable. Is there another Billy Graham in this generation?
Perhaps the gospel message by Dr. Graham, that touched me as a ten year old, is a message the Christian world needs to hear again. God calls us individually and personally. We all have a choice to respond or not. Respond “yes” and the loneliness we sometimes feel will be overcome by the prayerful inspiration we receive.
BEING WITH YOUTH IS FUN!
How did it happen? How did a middle-aged man with no kids of his own end up taking on a semi-leadership position with a church youth group? I didnít even get along with teenagers when I was one! I was one of those kids that got picked on through most of adolescence.
Basically, I backed into it. When one of my oldest friends organized our church youth group, he asked me to help out with one or two activities. Judging an Olympic event here - offering transportation there. And that remained my level of involvement for the first few years. But I found I enjoyed the company of the kids. And gradually, 'stopping by once in a while on a Sunday night if I had nothing else to do' turned into 'being there every Sunday night unless I had a prior commitment.'
To my surprise, I realized that youth group was no longer something I did to help out my friend. It had become an important part of my life. What I get out of it is far more than what I put into it.
Being with youth is fun! Talking to them invigorates me, makes me feel younger and fresher. They are open, they say whatís on their mind. I have loved developing a rapport with them. And their commitment to doing good work is an inspiration. My own faith and commitment are deeper because of my contact with these fine, caring young people.
Our entire church is stronger and spiritually stronger because of this youth group. I'm proud to be a small part of it.
Deer Park Presbyterian Church
My name is Danielle LaLaina and I live in Madagascar, more specifically in our capital city, Antananarivo. I live my brother and sister now as my parents live in another province.
Our country is beautiful as you can see from the picture of myself at one of the local beaches. We do have challenges in Madagascar with the greatest challenge for our people being the fight against poverty, as so many people are trying to find enough money to provide for the needs of the family and themselves.
I pray at the English chapel. It's not really a church but an association of our Christian community. We are small with around 150 people and we have a big youth group with around 50 members. Our youth group is split into different groups such as worship team group, drama and dance group, mission group and intercession group.
To read my full story, please click: Daniella of Madagascar
I am so glad to have discovered this International Christian youth website with ideas, games and testimonies. To young people around the world, my wish for you is that you would really know who God is, that He is the only one who cares for you and who has a great plan for you...I look forward to hearing the testimony of others and am so thankful that this website gives us this opportunity and wonderful resources for youth programs. I encourage you to read the reviews about the Chest of Visions book. It seems to be a special story with testimonies from unknown lands . (Review of Chest of Visions can be seen below).
THANK GOD FOR THIS MINISTRY
I used the "Ha Ha" game to break the ice and than I used "trust and pray" which blew away the youth. They loved it at the end when we lit the candles and began to pray.
I believe the lord told me to ask if everybody would accept Jesus as their savior; one said "no" and I began to tell her about Jesus and she accepted Jesus that day into her life.
Praise god. I thank God for this ministry at Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings.
Boyd Diaz Texas, USA
My Name is Jean Victor of Rwanda
AND I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU.
Let me tell you what was really interested me in the last letter which I’ve got: “30 years in youth services” while I ‘m 32 old years and almost only 17 years in youth services. Please , I think it is better sharing with you these experiences which you have passed than any other supports, reasons why: I get to read this book (Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings) because I’m sure that all of the experiences will be there.
There are two categories of ages of our young people. One group is between 7 to 14years where about 30 to 40 participants are; another is between 17 to 30 years; this has more than 70 members together in relationship with other high schools (Christian youth teams) in my country where every local Christian youth team is independent in the same prayer and relationship.
Our two favorite activities which I do with our young people are: Prayer together with Evangelical then playing different games and dance.
In my area, I wish to build a Christian youth center because in the holiday’s school, many parents need a secure area where they can leave their kids (young) for playing different games at the same time takes a good Christian education. Our ministry is Village mu rugo and I want to be with your team in a prayer relationship.
Thanks and God bless you for the web site
Jean Victortogether w
FUN EVENT FOR YOUR CHRISTIAN YOUTH MEETING ...
AUGUST 21, 2010
Hello - I used the Bombs Away activity with my teens groups and they loved it! I let them make the "bomb noise" themselves when one of them went on the bombs. I enforced in them the idea of trust and how we have guides in our life to help us on the right path..
Thanks for such a great activity!
I am a new member of the youth group and find it really fun. I will take some time describing what we do here in our youth group. There are two activities that I really enjoyed: the 30-hour famine and Hope for the Future. These were both learning experiences that were also fun.
First, I will tell you about the 30-hour Famine. This is a program where we experience hunger firsthand. This was a fun experience since we fasted together and helped each other along the way while trying to help those in need. At the end we got what was considered a meal for Indonesian people who had suffered from a terrible earthquake, a small plate of rice. It made me think about what some people have to go through and be very grateful for what I do have. Next, I want to tell you about Hope for the Future.
Hope for the Future made me feel good about myself. The youth group and I went to New York City and set up tables. We then put different sorts of food on the tables and then allowed homeless and poor people to walk in a line and take what they needed. I saw what some of the people wore in such cold weather, it was shocking. Seeing what happens to some people makes me believe that everyone should help the people that are in poverty.
As you can see, the youth group through these programs helps me see and experience the hardships faced in parts of the world and how each of us can lend a hand and make a difference.
My name is Brian Ferguson, I'm Tim's son and as such I spent many years in his youth group whether I wanted to or not. I was there when it was first started and I was the youngest member for years. Eventually I became a leader in the group in various ways be it writing skits or planning events and my friends became involved too. This experience was invaluable to me as it helped me develop useful skills while having some fun and learning more about religion along the way. It was also good to have a place young people like myself could meet and be together in a fun and positive way.
The most interesting meetings to me were the ones that involved discussions that were open to ideas outside of standard Christian thinking. I can recall discussing what various religions consider the afterlife or ways that modern science and the Bible agree and support one another. These are the meetings I and my friends remember to this day because they were intellectually stimulating and taught us to have an understanding with the people and world around us. Even friends of mine whom do not subscribe to a religion look fondly on this. From what I know of other groups in our area these sort of events are uncommon, which is a shame.
Brian made this new website possible by generously paying for its creation as a gift for my seventieth birthday. Thanks, Brian
HEAR WHAT CARA OF GOODREADS SAYS ABOUT
"NOT THE SAME OLD, DONE-IT-BEFORE YOUTH MEETINGS
"Wow! Its one of the few realistic and useful youth books I've run across and is recommended for youth pastors and adult volunteers in youth."
Thanks, Cara, for reading and sharing.
SEE MORE REVIEWS of NOT THE SAME OLD, DONE-IT-BEFORE YOUTH MEETING (THE BOOK)
Christians of all ages - Do you need a faith pick me up?
Here it is ... The Chest of Visions
Review dated February 2017 from Onlinebookclub
"What would happen if Jesus arrived today instead of 2,000 years ago? Would you risk your reputation and give up what you had to follow Him? These are the questions The Chest of Visions by Tim Ferguson seeks to answer. Not only does the book tackle these difficult questions, it does so in a unique format - the book is written via a pen pal-like dialogue between a few youths..."
Read more at Online Review
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