Youth are being empowered in gangs and dying in the streets, yet Larry Acosta of Urban Youth Workers Institute finds many churches giving teens nothing more than the role of passing the offering plates every fifth Sunday.
“Are you kidding me?” he said during the institute’s youth worker training event, Reload 1.2.3. in Bronx, N.Y.
“You need to empower youth to lead with real ministry opportunities,” he exhorted. “I’m talking next generation leaders empower[ing] youth to teach Bible studies, to lead small groups.”
Just month after accepting Christ around the age of 19, Efrain Figueroa was encouraged by his youth leader to become more engaged and active in the ministry. Within a year, he had become president of the youth group and site director of a youth center.
Figueroa had neither prior ministry experience nor a relationship with Jesus before he found himself in church, chasing after a girl. He had been kicked out of college and couldn’t find purpose or value in himself.
After his youth leader, Mitchell Torres, took a gamble on him and placed the young and obviously fearless Puerto Rican in leadership positions, he found himself valuable and having something to give.
And he has paid it forward over the years, investing in teens and trusting them to take up greater roles.
“The work that we need to be doing is finding the greatness in young people,” he said at Reload 1.2.3., which was webcast live to a national audience. “I’m not looking for [them] to be the next Billy Graham
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article courtesy of StreamingFaith.com