Early this year God placed a vision in my heart to focus ministry on the youth and young adults who wander the streets of Olympia while struggling with their life issues. I sensed that leadership for this needed to come from our youth who can relate to street youth in a way that parental figures may not. I knew they would need time to build relationships the same way we do with adults in our Street Lights ministry.
God’s word to me: City Gates Ministries should provide church youth/young adults with the tools to go outside the church walls to demonstrate the love of God and the nurture of His church. Needing greater clarity and direction, I prayed, “What do we do Lord? How do we move this forward?” The answer? First imagine seeing the hearts of our youth pulsing with the heartbeat of the Father to reach out to serve their peers.
While waiting for direction, God called my attention to His raising up a wave of youth and young adults with an interest in reaching their generation with the Love of God. Some of these kids were already integrated into our Thursday ministry. What’s more, they were demonstrating an increased passion to take on the task of developing an additional night on the streets just for the youth. Here is what has been happening:
Early last November, volunteers from the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts served at the Auction and were a big reason the Auction ran so smoothly. They labored all day and into the evening to make sure all our guests were wonderfully served and comfortable.
The November / December Albertsons Thanksgiving/Christmas Food & Fund drive would not have been such a big success without the youth who volunteered, asking shoppers to fill our donation baskets with items like food, diapers, other goods and cash.
A young Cadet Scout earned her Scout’s Silver Award by collecting coats for Street Lights ministry, then she spent a night on the street handing them out. She had tucked a hand written scripture verse in each coat pocket. I don’t know who experienced more joy – the chilly recipient of the coat or our awesome Girl Scout!
Parents are bringing their kids to the streets where they help distribute needed items to people in need. They have been such a blessing as they serve!
Youth groups from California, Idaho and Oregon scheduled visits to do missions work and community service in Olympia, serving on the street with Street Lights ministry. Students from Simpson University in Redding, California blessed us by providing music and leading us in worship as well as serving and praying for people in need.
Many youth have been holding donation drives at their churches and bringing these items to the street.
Youth from Faith Assembly showed up at our Saturday morning ministry where we sort clothing and stock the trucks for the Thursday night. They brought in bags and bags of shoes they had collected and ended up “blessing the socks off ” the assembled work crew!
Yelm Baptist Church youth collected coats and socks and we were thrilled to see that each child had placed a scripture in the pocket of every jacket and inserted the word of God into each pair of socks, individually wrapped in a sandwich bag.
The young adults from Hope Community Church came out on a Saturday and served with the team to prepare the trucks for Thursday night ministry.
Faith Lutheran Church youth went the extra mile and gave a very generous financial donation to City Gates Ministries. This was a huge blessing!
Recently Loren, who attends Capital Christian Academy, initiated a clothing drive at her school. City Gates brought in the Up Street Kids Truck – a beer truck converted into a ministry tool – and Loren’s initiative completely filled the truck with provision for the ministry.
Youth from McKenna Community Church have encouraged Street Lights staff and visitors with us every Thursday night.
Recently I met with youth from the Chinese Christian Community who approached me with the idea of starting a new ministry night on the street. They wanted to generate a Saturday mission outreach for youth, by youth and young adults! I was so inspired by the heart of these kids and by the support of their parents. Pastor Chris, from McKenna and Pastor Nate from Hope Community Church have agreed to be part of this new initiative, putting their shoulders to the task of starting up another night that will focus on reaching youth and young adults.
This is a good start but we still need adult leaders to oversee this great ministry and support the youth in the work they desire to do. We are calling all youth pastors to help with our four week rotation so we can field a different team each week of the month. Please call me for more information 360-359-1999.
All of this is to say that God has a Plan for our street youth, spelled with a capitol “P”! I can assure you that His heart is to touch the younger generation THROUGH the younger generation. It is our intention to help our Christian youth to accomplish their vision and goals. We will provide volunteer training, tangible items like our location, a sound system and stage, and trucks filled with provision.
We envision teams of youth rotating on a monthly basis, conducting a full ministry outreach. Youth will lead the worship, share testimonies, bring a gospel message, then open the trucks to hand out provision, pray for the street kids and begin to build relationships that will bring them into the arms of God.
Won’t you please join us as we pray for and work towards this vital new ministry outreach?