Youth and truth
Wild parties have great appeal for young people in their teens. Proven results include an increase in drinking, drugs and escalating violence on our streets. One typical young girl of 16, Gemma (not her actual name), was heavily into partying and fighting. Yet for months, she spent time grilling OAC Ministries (Open Air Campaigners) Evangelist Dave Workman about issues like creation versus evolution, and heaven and hell.
Last month, Gemma realised the truth of the good news. She has accepted Jesus as her Lord and Saviour. '"This really proved to be the key issue for her," explains Dave, "that Jesus must be Boss, Number 1. Calling Him Lord was her final surrender point."
Now Gemma enjoys a new found peace in God. Her changed life is characterised by joy as she shares the Gospel with family and friends. In addition to reading the Bible and going to church, she joins others in outreach.
Of course, old habits do not simply disappear. Gemma still battles with her tendencies to fight. Coming from a dysfunctional family, she has taken a stand by attending church. Although initially negative, family members can see a real difference in her.
"I lead a great team of helpers who give of their time and energies for a youth club," explains Workman. "Non-Christian teens come along on a Friday evening to socialise, play games like table-tennis, snooker, and football.
"In the middle of the evening we spend about 15 minutes looking at life issues connected with God. We try to steer youth clear of the drugs, drink and sex scene. Now, a few have become very serious about the Gospel."
Peer pressure can be especially influential. That is why it is important that Christian teenagers are involved with this ministry. It makes the youth club effective because these teens prove on a daily basis that a biblical perspective can add to the quality of life they enjoy.
In the case of Gemma, as she struggles to overcome her aggressive background, she knows that she can rely on the loving network offered by Christian teenagers. They accept her and encourage her as she grows with the Lord.
"It is right for a young person to carefully consider the cost of following Jesus," explains Dave. "One teenager who is now very interested in coming to faith, realises that he would have to leave behind the sex scene. But he can also see that others have made the right choice and experience the fulfilment that he lacks."
One truth about youth is especially apt for the Workman family as the younger generation enjoys biblical precepts they have known from early childhood. Two of the Christian teenagers involved in this youth work, Jessica and Daniel, are Dave and Vicki Workman's children. Their older son Jordan thrives on evangelism in settings ranging from Britain to the Middle East.
Heading a ministry throughout Kent, Dave notes that teams conduct outreach and evangelistic activities in different areas. OAC teams work together with local churches on an interdenominational basis.