And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

Luke 5:26

I’m constantly humbled that God has allowed me to do this work.  I’m humbled by the incredible investment so many people have made not only in our ministry but into me personally. Thanks. This month has been extraordinary!!!

The Community Room

Last year, we discovered many students haphazardly talking about failing classes. This is a grave concern for a youth pastor. How can I teach students to study God’s word if they can’t read it? Through this question, God has challenged me to actively engage in the beginning stages of community development which has entailed extensive community research, countless meetings with community leaders, and difficult conversations. We discovered that 1 in 2 Topeka High Schools last semester was failing one or more classes. I acknowledge that there are many reasons for that statistic. I acknowledge that prior to the end of the semester, some of those students probably improved their grades resulting from the valiant efforts by a teacher or concerned individual. However, it still identifies a significant challenged being faced by many students in our community. It also presents the church with a significant opportunity to be the hand and feet of Jesus in a very visible way by coming alongside struggling students and helping them with their homework. This help is an act of genuine friendship and could be the first step toward walking a student to authentic faith in Christ.

Here’s what we are doing about it.

We need more space to tutor students, host an art gallery, poetry events, concerts, play games with students, provide safe space, and partner with many local para-church and churches to unify our message of hope in Christ. I submitted a lease offer to West Ridge Mall management several months ago. Their counter offer would not be feasible and was a clear sign we needed to wait and seek God’s timing and provision. We did.

Last year I submitted a proposal desiring to turn the former Finish Line space into a community center. This space is 4500 sq ft. Mall Management countered with an infeasible proposal.

Two weeks ago, I submitted a proposal for the same dollar total but requesting more space and terms much more favorable towards Barnabas Student Ministries. The terms of the proposal are favorable enough that only the God who owns everything could so move the hearts of the individuals controlling to mall to move forward. They did. God is good, We are seeking the tangible, visible hand of God moving in incredible ways during this season.

Ultimately our goal is to increase homework completion by 10% across the city within an 18 month window. This is audacious goal that once again I believe we will see God move mightily through.

Please pray for provision, persistence, and wisdom as we seek to unify local youth ministry around the rally cry of Homework Completion to the end of Student Salvation. I can’t wait to keep you updated as together we watch God do the unimaginable.

Next Month, I’m looking forward to sharing more about our efforts towards Faith Based Collective Impact.