Serving at-risk youth and their parents/caregivers may not seem like a needed ministry to many churches or individuals, after all we have social programs for these youth, we have the juvenile court systems, guidance counselors, JPO’s, community service projects and education to help these young people.
Well every week, as the Director of New Path Adventures, I attend a local juvenile probation meeting, where the JPO’s charges gather to check in, and where their progress is monitored. This meeting is hosted in a local church, with the understanding that we will share God’s Word with these young people while they are here. Typically, if this check in and update meeting were to take place in the JPO’s office or at a home visit, it might last 15 min. to 1/2 an hour. But we have the privilege of pouring into these youth for an hour and a half. We are intentionally making friends with them and mentoring them to help them discover God’s plan for their life.
Now these meetings are not overtly religious, there is no preaching and no “Bible-thumping”. It is gently sharing and showing the love of God, truths from the Scriptures, and offering an alternative to the world-view they may have.
Every year the youth offenders must participate in a Service Learning Project. This year 4 JPO’s have come together at our host site to collaborate on this service project, hearing great things about this environment and relationship from the JPO that we work with.
Well they are here. They have begun their project. I have moved from a facilitator to a spectator for the time being. Watching and listening to how these state trained professionals are dealing with our troubled youth causes me great concern and worry for these youth.
The session began with a scenario of being on a desert island for 1 year and only allowed to bring 1 piece of music, 1 book, and 1 luxury item. The youth had to share their choices and the why behind the choice. Okay, I have used scenarios similar to that in working with these youth, but what caught me by surprise, and what caused my mouth to drop open was this statement from the facilitator/trainer – “What 1 book would you choose to have with you, and it cannot be the Bible.”
Enough said – that is why New Path Adventures must be here and do what we do with this unique people group. We may not be reaching the masses, but even 1 life reached, rescued, restored – changed more than validates this ministry and program. What if that one life was your son or daughter? Would it be worth it?
Please keep supporting this ministry, not for us, for them. I am not sure there are too many other viable options for some of these youth. I certainly do not see it happening through our present juvenile judicial system, our public education system, and general worldview and attitude towards the truth of God’s Word.
Please click the donate button today and help us shine the light of God’s love in the life of an at-risk youth. There is a legitimate need for this ministry.