Copyright 2019. Beckon. All Rights Reserved.
REALITY: The urban church faces a potential decline in future indigenous leadership.
Even when inner city young people attend church, they are often immersed in an environment of extremely dysfunctional families, poverty, prevalent drug and gang activity and poor schools. These pressures make it much more difficult for them to succeed. The result is that few young people, even churched young people, walk wholesome and productive lives into their twenties. They are not properly equipped spiritually to be positive leaders in their church or community. There remains a great need for evangelism and consistent discipleship and mentoring directed at these as-risk youth.
One glimmer of hope has been found in the summer camping experience. Summer camps provide moments where children and teens have the opportunity to hear the voice of God and respond. In an environment apart from the distraction and burdens of daily life in the city, God gives them moments of lucidity and hope. Expanding this camping experience to occur throughout the year can provide the spiritual continuity that these youth need.
BECKON will support local churches by providing a camp setting where urban Chicago young people can come monthly throughout the year for weekend retreats.
In this setting they will have time to encounter and worship Jesus who can set the captive free, time to cry out to God for forgiveness, time to cry out for change and transformation, time to make vows for change. They will pray for hope and a new future.
They will be able to deal with and receive guidance in the issues that have scarred them and kept them in despair, such as how to deal with a dysfunctional family environment, blame and shame, authority good and bad, fear and faith, discernment of one’s past present and future, perfection, acceptance, and peer pressure. Here they will discover the power in Christ to stop making bad choices.
In this setting they will meet urban role models who have been set free, who are making good choices, who are living well. They will be connected with a Christian adult mentor, one who values accountability, grace, and hope. Their mentor will help them both at the camp setting and when they get back to the streets of Chicago.
In this setting urban young people can hear the voice of God. They can encounter Jesus who by the power of the cross transforms death into life and despair into hope. They can encounter Jesus and be set free through the grace of God to have a new tomorrow and live a new life. They will discover that it is by walking daily with Jesus that change becomes real and lasting.