Reaching Children & Youth for Christ

Recently I had the privilege of visiting with missionaries in the Tri-County area of Knox/.Laurel/Whitley that minister to children and youth. My first visit was with Missionaries James McDonald, Lorie Wells, Beth Arnold, and other volunteers with BREAK (Bible Release-time Education Association of Kentucky). I had heard about this ministry but actually got to visit and participate in a couple of classes a few weeks ago.

BREAK is a non-denominational, non-profit, Christian organization that provides Bible based moral instruction to public school students during the school day. Students are released from school with the permission of their parents to attend Bible study off public school grounds. In Corbin the leaders of BREAK have converted a blue and white bus into a classroom where the students meet. Public schools do not support or oppose BREAK.

The BREAK program in Corbin currently leads ten classes in grades 3 – 6 at two schools. Each class meets either every other week or monthly. Last year 40+ professions of faith were reported as a direct result of the Bible classes. As one little boy was being baptized he shared with his church that he “got saved at BREAK.”
There was so much excitement in the children as they climbed on the bus for BREAK. They joyfully sang about God, interacted with the Bible lesson, and located verses in their Bibles during the Bible drill time. It was so touching to hear the students request prayer for their families and friends and then to hear their sincere hearts as they prayed for these needs.

Another missionary I met with last week is Tim Bargo. Tim ministers to youth in grades 6 – 12 through First Priority Tri-County. First Priority clubs meet at the school campus in the mornings for 15 – 20 minutes before classes begin. Currently they are in 30 schools in the area. Priority clubs are student led, with a faculty sponsor who volunteers his/her time. Several of the clubs have a campus coach, such as a youth pastor, who also assists. So far, during the 2012-2013 school year they have reported 232 salvation decisions. There were 300 reported during the previous year. Tim also serves as chaplain of the University of the Cumberlands football team where 5 salvation decisions have been made this year.

A comment was made that the greatest mission field in the United States is our nation’s public schools and the Tri-County area of Knox/Laurel/Whitley is doing a good job at reaching their students for Christ. Thank God for folk that James, Lorie, Beth, Tim, and others who care for students enough to give their time to share the Gospel message from the local middle school all the way through college. May we see more men and women step up to reach their local students for Christ.

The Safest Place to Be

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief medical team ministering after the Haiti earthquake

In talking with Christians today, many believe that the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.  I would argue, the best place to be is in the center of God’s will, but it is not always the safest.

I am vividly reminded of this today as I am working on sending a team of volunteers to an extremely unstable part of the world.  The team will be putting their lives at risk, as they seek to minister in a place scarred by violence and conflict.  Their commitment reminds us: following Christ requires a sacrifice of self.  Jesus teaches this truth in Matthew 10:39 when He says, “He who finds his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”  Our Lord clearly lays out that following Him involves risking our safety and security.

The truth of the Gospel calls us to lay our lives on the line for eternity, rather than living for the temporary.  In Matthew 10:16, Jesus tells His disciples, “I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.”  Jesus paints a picture of defenseless sheep, surrounded by a pack of wolves.  The calling of Christ may require us to go among those hostile to the Gospel, so that they may have opportunity to hear and be transformed by the Good News of Jesus.  The questions arise: Do we really believe that the reward of eternity outweighs the sacrifice of the temporary?  Do we believe enough in Jesus, our Savior and Lord, to lay it all on the line?  Would we give our lives for the sake of the Gospel?

Obedience to Christ is not easy.  The nations will not be reached for the Gospel without sacrifice.  Fulfilling the Great Commission of our Lord is often dangerous.  It requires us to go wherever He leads, sometimes as sheep in the midst of wolves.  But, the Word of God assures us, it is worth it.  Christ has promised that all who follow Him will enjoy an eternity filled with the riches of glory.  Even as the wolves knock at our door, may we be reminded, that our great Savior will always be enough for us.