North America (MNN) — Today marks the start of Warrior Leadership Summit–a week-long, one-of-a-kind conference for Native American youth.
For years, Ron Hutchcraft Ministries has been hosting the Summit as a kickoff to its On Eagles' Wings summer ministry. Ron Hutchcraft says for the kids coming, this is a unique experience.
Hutchcraft explains the typical history of an incoming student:
"You have buried a number of your friends who killed themselves–suicide being one of the greatest causes of death in Native American young people, three times the rate of the rest of the kids in America. Your family is broken. Most of the people you know are either addicted to alcohol, or to drugs, or to both. Good chance, statistically, you have been sexually abused whether you're a girl or a boy. You come from tremendous brokenness. You come from a people among whom, after 500 years of missions work, only five percent know Christ."
For the Native young person who is even remotely interested in Jesus, there are few places to turn. Warrior Leadership Summit is a significant one of those few.
After leaving a world of brokenness and depression, Native youth suddenly walk into a room full of people from 70 different tribes worshiping God, all with a similar background, story, and passion. Hutchcraft says this, in and of itself, is enough to make many of the attendees cry.
But the Summit goes far beyond that initial entry experience. This week, students will learn about entering a battle for God through the eyes of David, a warrior for God.
Many who arrive today will not know Christ. As they hear about the gruesome battle Jesus faced to die for them on the cross, they will be introduced to a Savior. Hutchcraft says probably about one out of five of the youth will be coming to Christ for the first time.
At the end of the week of worship, teaching, discipleship and leadership training, students will be chosen to join the On Eagles' Wings summer team which will head to 10 reservations to preach the Gospel.
Others will be bright lights for Christ when they return home.
"One of the reasons we've had 500 years of missions work and so few believers to show for it, is because the people who have brought the Gospel have largely been non-Native people," explains Hutchcraft. "When these young people go back, they become game changers for the cause of Christ on reservations across America."
This is vital for the spread of the Gospel to a forgotten demographic in North America. Hutchcraft reminds us, "There are some young people today who, but for the hope of Christ getting to them in time, will not be alive a year from today."
Your prayers this week are therefore vital. "The outcomes are going to be decided by prayer warriors."
Hutchcraft asks you pray for three things this week: Pray for Native youth who are broken and lost to grab hold of Christ. Pray for the youth leaders who are often without other training, who will be trained this week. And pray for those who are slaves to addictions, abuse, and other follies to be liberated.
You can get a full prayer calendar and kit for free at Hutchcraft.com.