I was involved in a meeting yesterday that involved what we term “at risk teenager”. The questions could be summed up into one “What do we do with him?” I guess we ask the same question of all the youth we label in this category and I feel we perhaps have three approaches that we can take:
- We can sympathise over their presence in our communities and hope they go away
- Become frustrated that nothing seems to work with them
- See them as a gift from God and commit to trying to reach them.
Here at Bad Boy Turned Good we have chosen approach 3. Over time my heart has been broken for these young people. Often asking myself “What makes these at risk youth different from the rest? What inspires them? What motivates them? Why do they respond to things the way they do? How do they view life, God or anyone who tries to reach them?
How we work with the rest of the youth never seems to work with them and raises the following questions:
- How can we reach them effectively?
- What is realistic to expect in return?
- How far do we get involved?
- What is the best role to play in their lives?
When I began youth work it was to invest my time into the youth who I deemed to possess real leadership skills and potential, the ones who would change the world….. But then God had a different plan and I kept encountering more and more troubled youth and my heart started to break for them and so Bad Boy Turned Good began (by the way Bad Girl Turned Good is on the way)
The more I work with these “at risk youth” the more I discover the leadership potential, the champion that lives in so many of them and realise most haven’t had the breaks we have had. Take a moment now and ask yourself this question” would I turn out any different than they had if I had been raised in the same environment?” I would love to know your answer.
Working with these youth have given me some big disappointments, yet also some of my greatest highs. In the bible God seeks out 5 types of people: the poor, sick, orphans, widows and prisoners. Our “at risk youth” or troubled teens that we encounter into our community more than likely fall into several of these categories. So if our heart becomes broken for those hurting youth who cross your path, be confident that it is Gods heart of compassion your feeling and that your heart is beating in time with Gods and maybe he is calling you to a deeper level of ministry with youth.