#Youareloved

Posted on by Youth for Christ

On March 17, 2016 City Life hosted an event for the girls involved with RealTALK (the weekly mentoring program held at South Side and Wayne High Schools over the lunch periods).  RealTALK is our bridge in connecting the girls closer to the ministry of Youth for Christ/City Life, where we provide a family environment that nurtures students emotionally & spiritually.  Ultimately, our goal is to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus and develop indigenous leaders. 

The event, RealTALK UNPLUGGED, has an intentional heartbeat with simple, yet profound, goals in mind.  First, we wanted to gather all of these girls together for an evening of HONORING them as young ladies and CELEBRATING their involvement/commitment to weekly participating in RealTALK.  There are a total of 14 groups meeting in various locations during the different lunch periods (at two schools). This event creates an opportunity for ALL the girls to come together in one location, allowing them to gain a broader perspective of how many of their peers are involved with this program outside of just their small group. Secondly, hosting something after school hours (and off school property) provides us the freedom to go deeper with the material discussed during RealTALK; which explains naming the event “unplugged.”  Several weeks leading up to the event, we’d been unpacking different virtues each week, such as:  Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. With this UNPLUGGED event we could reveal the true source from which the material was inspired…the Bible

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  -Colossians 3:12-14 NIV

We took the liberty to use the term “accessorize yourselves,” and furthered that thought with the reality that you could have the finest style, accessories, make-up, etc., going on, but if your attitude/behavior is selfish, ugly, mean, prideful, it won’t matter how good you look on the outside!  The girls were encouraged to think about this:  Imagine if we were as INTENTIONAL with “putting on” VIRTUES each day like we are with putting on our ACCESSORIES!

The night of the event, we unpacked the final virtue of love…the virtue that binds all of these together in perfect unity.  We were able to share God’s love with them by elaborating on our theme YOU ARE LOVED! We had the opportunity to describe how to receive God’s love through his son Jesus. And once you receive God’s love, it’s His love IN YOU that enables you (with HIS strength) to exhibit and develop these virtues. 

The planning of UNPLUGGED was nothing short of an amazing orchestration from start to finish.  It was incredible to witness the processes come together and a team of people willing to serve and love-on all these girls in the following tangible ways:

  • School administrators:  both schools jumped on board with the idea of providing bus transportation after school to the off-site Event Center at The Summit (on Rudisill Blvd.) 
  • RealTALK leaders: weekly dedication of mentoring & leading group discussions and willingness to participate in the celebration of this event with the girls.
  • Dream-team of ladies: conquered all food details from purchasing, preparing, and serving; along with creative décor to go along with our theme and making bookmarkers that captured Colossians 3:12-14
  • City Life/YFC team: guidance, prayer, table décor and admin support
  • Community support through local businesses:  allowed us to give away fun raffle prizes– and the bonus was that every prize had the intentionality of providing an experience. Plus, the opportunity for relationship-building among friends & leaders.  There would be one winner, but the winner was able to ask friends to join in her winning!

A few examples are:

  1. A college visit, with an overnight stay and are able to invite three others (this prize voucher had a catch! The winner and her three friends had to commit to City Life tutoring two times per week till end of school year, requiring an increase in academic efforts. What good would a potential college career be, if they’re not equipped and prepared for college?)
  2. YFC camp--winner receives full ride; her two friends receive half off.
  3. A night at the movies--of course, with three friends and a couple leaders!
  4. Pottery Paint Party

It was so encouraging to see all of this in motion--it seriously brought me to tears! 

Last, but definitely not least, in the midst of all the planning, God provided a relevant & inspiring young adult guest speaker; someone from this community who’d been praying for an opportunity to give her testimony & be used as a mouthpiece for God. She had her prayer answered when I called her out of the blue to see if she’d come and speak at UNPLUGGED!  God IS IN the details! 

62 urban high school girls attended this event! 

We finished the night with sharing the gospel message and the truth of Jesus’ love!  Each girl received a special keepsake ‘love-bracelet’ to wear as a reminder of God’s love for them.  Personal response cards indicate that NINE girls made first time commitments to Christ, several others did rededications, and a handful more revealed they want to know more about God’s love & want to talk to someone further.

Even though the event is over, our responsibility to the mission of YFC is far from over.  There’s much follow-up & discipleship to do, with the decisions they made and the questions they have. It’s a magnificent undertaking. Your PRAYERS continue to be vital for the stamina & wisdom of our staff, volunteers, and for the girls’ hearts, as they move into the decisions they made that night.


Amy Binkley
Adult Empowerment & RealTALK Director

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