“Don’t Harm Yourself. We Are All Here!”
That’s what Paul said in Acts 16 to a prison guard who was about to take his own life. Paul’s voice, interrupting the guard’s darkness, saved the man’s life. I know that’s a heavy way to start, but I want to write to you today about something that is both very heavy, and also very important.
As I mentioned in the sermon on Sunday, last week I heard about a young victim of suicide from Middletown North. She was 14 years old. While I don’t pretend to know what was going on in her head and heart on the day she took her life, on that day she decided that it was better for her to die than to live.
That’s a darkness, a pain, and a decision that is unfathomable, and unfathomably sad.
We should pray for her family and her friends, and all who are grieving over this tragic loss. We should grieve with them. I’d even invite you to consider supporting her family financially as they grieve, pick up the pieces, and heal.
The truth is, there are many young people (and adults for that matter) who carry similar thoughts with them every day, and even through entire seasons of life. As sad as that is, it’s also normal. But as Paul modelled in Acts 16 – as Jesus’ followers and people who are called to echo his voice of hope in the world – we have the ability to speak into that darkness (listen to the sermon from June 5th for more on this).
Enter Central Youth.
In Sunday’s message, I mentioned how I hope that Central can become a place where all young people – including those who are carrying that kind of darkness – can find light and hope. I said that it will take time to build towards that.
But that time starts this Tuesday.
And so this Tuesday, our Central intern Rebecca Delucia, is launching “Central Youth” – a monthly gathering for young people from 6th-12th grade to come together, have some fun, share life, and hear a bit about the life, light, and love of Jesus Christ. For now, it will be a monthly gathering on Tuesdays from 7-8:30PM (9/27, 10/25, 11/22, & 12/13). Rob and Katy Lisi are going to help out as well!!!
From my experience in youth ministry, what young people need more than perhaps anything else are adults who are willing to create a safe space for them to be themselves, and for the adults to pour into them, get involved in the messiness of their lives, and be there for them. That’s what Rebecca and her team are going to do. I’m so excited for it.
I want to ask you for two things in regards to Central Youth.
First, please pray.
Pray for Rebecca and the other leaders: for inspiration, energy, and connection with the kids. Pray for kids to show up. Pray for opportunity. Pray for God to open a door. Pray for God’s Spirit to move in powerful ways. Pray for light to penetrate the darkness.
Second, please spread the word.
If you have kids in that age bracket, or grandkids, or neighbors, or whoever, please invite them. Spread the word. We’ll have half-page flyers available on Sunday for you to pick up and give out, and stay tuned to social media for opportunities to share, like and comment.
This is just a first step, but an important first step. But like I also said on Sunday, living by faith is step by step…and that’s what we’re doing here. I couldn’t be more happy or thankful to be leading the church, along with Rebecca, Rob, Katy – and you – to take this step together.
So pray for Central Youth, and spread the word!
Pastor, Central Baptist Church