Out of all the summer camps, conferences, and mission trips that youth leaders can sign their groups up for, why are so many across the country packing up their students and coming to Lead THE Cause (LTC) this summer?
I got my first taste of LTC last week in funky, sweltering Austin, Texas, and I think I found out why this week-long urban mission trip is so worth it for leaders and students alike. Here are just two of the many encounters I had with youth leaders who are all in for what this week has to offer.
“Why Haven’t We Been Doing This All Along?”
Evangelism and service have always been priorities for Martin Hanley’s youth group at Second Baptist Church in Bowling Green, Missouri, but something was missing when it came to actively taking the gospel to their church’s home turf.
Hanley’s students have a lot of experience serving at the ‘ends of the earth’ in places like Haiti, but he wanted an opportunity to teach them how to share the gospel in their own ‘Jerusalem.’
Lead THE Cause was the perfect event that he knew his core students and leaders needed to experience for that very purpose.
“We knew that based on where we want to go with the ministry in reaching our town for Jesus, we wanted to get some of my lead adults and youth to come to this training to help us gospelize our community,” he explained.
Hanley found a marked difference between LTC and other evangelism-focused events that he’s been to in the past, saying, “I just got back from another camp and we were talking about discipleship, but we were just talking about discipleship. That’s great, but [at LTC] we’re actually out practicing those evangelism tools.”
His students noticed the difference too, and after a day of outreach in the streets of Austin one of them said, “I see the need in Haiti, but I never realized that there was this need in the United States.
“Why haven’t we been doing this all along?”
The evangelism training, outreach experiences, and discipleship at LTC jumpstarted a passion in Hanley’s students to share the gospel wherever they go, and it’s sure to be contagious.
“I want my kids to help change our attitudes as a youth group and as a church on what our role really is.”
“The older generation in the church is excited about seeing the kids do this, and I think that when they see that excitement in the students, it will rekindle something in them that they may have lost,” he said.
“I want the other students in our youth group to see the fire that we’re coming out of here with, and I want my kids to help change our attitudes as a youth group and as a church on what our role really is.”
“We are sold out for THE Cause of Christ,” Hanley said with excitement in his voice. “We’re sold out to reach our community, state, and world for Jesus.”
Gospelizing From the Inside Out
Martin and Gracie Flores are a gospel-advancing married couple in their sixth year of leading the Southside Baptist Church youth group in San Antonio, Texas. They decided to bring three of their core students to their first LTC experience with high hopes for how this week would impact their ministry in the long run.
“We’ve already seen the growth in our student leaders, but I think I’m more excited about what we’re going to be bringing back,” Gracie said.
In their youth group of about 45 students, the Floreses say the majority of them come from unstable, un-churched homes. The church van picks these teens up from school to go to youth group, but a once-a-week church gathering isn’t enough to help them really understand the gospel.
A deeper level of discipleship is needed for these students, and that’s why LTC is so important to the Floreses.
“We’re hoping that when we go back home, we can plug our student leaders in to start teaching the other students about discipleship, and then grow from there,” Gracie explained. “One of our goals is not to grow in numbers, but we want to see more of them become bold in their faith.”
“I think it’s easier for the kids to relate peer-to-peer instead of adult-to-student,” Martin chimed in. “We’re hoping that the kids that we brought here with us will be able to relay the gospel even better than we could.”
Are you interested in taking your youth group to Lead THE Cause next year? Sign up for details, updates, and deadlines for LTC 2018.