A few years ago, when we first started gathering with several midtown churches for the Memphis Prayer Collective, Mandy had a vision of these churches coming together to form a collaborative youth ministry. As she and I talked about what we hoped for for the quickly-getting-older kids at NC, we felt that what God wanted might be a bit outside the box. This would come up in our conversations from time to time…
A few years ago, when we first started gathering with several midtown churches for the Memphis Prayer Collective, Mandy had a vision of these churches coming together to form a collaborative youth ministry. As she and I talked about what we hoped for for the quickly-getting-older kids at NC, we felt that what God wanted might be a bit outside the box. This would come up in our conversations from time to time, but in May of 2016 the dream turned a little more tangible when she was approached by Ken Bennett of SOUL For the City, who shared that he too had a dream like this. What separated Ken from the two of us is that he also had the funds for this ministry! His desire was for a youth minister to partner with a few midtown churches to provide outreach ministry that would center around Maxine Smith STEAM Academy. We began to meet with Ken, pray about this prospect, and dream about a new kind of youth ministry.
Over the last year, we have shared this dream with other midtown pastors, all of whom have taken several months to pray about this collaboration. Right now, the churches who have joined us in this partnership are Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Christ City Church, and Union Avenue Baptist Church.
The dream that formed was to see a full-time youth leader providing outreach opportunities to Maxine Smith STEAM Academy, as well as to spend hours discipling and leading the middle and high schoolers of these four churches. He or she would lead a weekly gathering, alternating between middle school and high school, and in these gatherings, each church would provide huddle leaders who would take discipleship a little deeper in smaller groups. This dreaming led to action as Mandy and this team of pastors continued to meet. In early June they spent an entire day interviewing an incredible lineup of candidates.
Last Sunday night I had the privilege of introducing Josh Warren as the new Crossroads Director.
The name Crossroads comes from Jeremiah 6:16, which says:
Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Josh has been living with us for the last two weeks, and I’ve gotten an up close and personal view of his heart. This guy loves God and he loves kids. And just as important is the fact that my kids LOVE Josh!
Here’s where you come in. Let’s pray for Josh and for the team that will join him as they seek to love and disciple students. We’re in the Bible Belt, and most of my the adults I know in Midtown have at some point been in church. Their kids are a different story though. We are surrounded by many children who have never truly heard the story of Jesus. Let’s pray that God would use this ministry to change that!
I would also invite you to pray about how you might join this ministry. As stated before, we are going to be looking for at least two huddle leaders for the Sunday night gatherings, but I’m sure there will other ways to volunteer as well.
I’m beyond grateful to Mandy and the others who have worked so hard to bring this dream to a reality. More than anything, though, this is a God-sized story. He is the one who took a small seed of a dream and brought it to fruition. Let’s give Him praise for what he’s done over the last year and for what is still to come!