If you have been working in ministry or the community for any amount of time it is not uncommon for God to work in ways that are not necessarily mysterious, but are definitely unexpected. Recently, I was facilitating a youth business training with Greater Works Vocational Discipleship Program for a group of at-risk youth in Atlanta.
I had my lesson plan laid out to teach them how to start a purpose driven business. However, I found as I was going through my curriculum, it was not connecting with them. I tried different "trainer techniques" to get them to engage, but nothing seemed to work.
It wasn't until I started focusing more on asking them questions than teaching content did I start to make a connection. I began inquiring about the problems they saw in their communities and the causes they believed were the culprits.
The energy in the room skyrocketed when I became the student and I opened myself to be taught by them. At that moment I had two choices: 1) stick to what I had planned to teach them, or 2) become a sponge so that I could better determine how best to reach them based on what they were facing. Fortunately, I chose the latter.
So what began as a youth entrepreneurship training became a millennial focus group for community transformation. It was very revealing what they saw as the issues and causes in their own communities, as well as some of the potential solutions. The top 4 issues they listed were:
That's why we need more Joshua's to lead the younger generation to their promise land. Sometimes it's easy for adults to talk at or over teenagers without really talking to them to hear their perspectives. With the complex issues that we are facing our communities these days, it behooves all of us to seek wisdom from whatever source God may bring it.
You can learn more about how Kinsman Community Ministries is working with youth to transform their communities through social enterprises at www.mykinsman.org/youth.
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Amos Johnson Jr.
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