USA (MNN) — With the amount of reporting done on international missions, it’s easy to forget how much God’s children are needed right where they are. For everyone who lives in the United States and wants to get involved with missions close to home, this may be the opportunity for you.
Youth For Christ truly believes that the Lord has a heart for those living in the cities. The ministry recently has begun to move its focus more intently on urban youth, says Lisa Gintz. Gintz oversees Youth For Christ’s national City Life ministry, which focuses on reaching urban youth with the Gospel through holistic ministry.
“We really emphasize not only sharing the love of Christ with our words, but demonstrating the love of Christ with our actions through all sorts of creative programming,” explains Gintz. City Life reaches out to youth through Bible studies and discipleship, "but also [through] tutoring programs, health clinics, economic literacy, and collaborating with folks who are already in the city doing great work to shine the light of Christ in that local context."
City Life allows kids who have been hindered by circumstances, mainly from about age 11 to 19, to harvest the gifts and talents the Lord has given them. Specific programs may look different from city to city, based on need. Some City Life programs are held in their own buildings, while others are available through churches or other organizations. Regardless of where City Life meets or what their main focus is for each city, Christ is undoubtedly at the center of each City Life chapter.
"It is really a powerful witness and testimony to the work of Christ,” says Gintz. "There are youth who have incredible gifts, incredible talents, incredible abilities, but because of their life circumstances or obstacles or situations, they’ve been prevented from reaching their full potential. When Youth For Christ can come alongside youth in that community, alongside a local church or alongside another local community organization and can help a young person overcome those obstacles and achieve their full potential, that’s really when you’re seeing God at work; that's how He’s designed us to work and live in community and truly love all people."
In Gintz’s own life, she has seen a neighbor girl, whose mother is a prostitute, come to faith in Christ through City Life and point her life in a direction it never would have gone otherwise. This same type of story has been repeated thousands of times throughout the City Life ministry in dozens of cities.
This exciting ministry cannot run without plenty of believers helping in a number of ways. You can help by volunteering in a City Life program near you, or in various other ways. To find a City Life program near you, visit the Youth For Christ Website.
"We need all levels of involvement—board members, staff, volunteers, prayer partners, folks who want to give, folks who want to use their influence to motivate more individuals to get involved relationally in the city. We need all sorts of help."