Messenger of Hope
Oct 12, 2022 | 4 min read | Dave Patty
My heart was overflowing with all kinds of emotions as I looked out over the tent filled with almost 400 JV staff and close ministry partners. Three years was a long time to wait to be together. Zoom meetings and online connections are just not the same as being face to face!
There is nothing quite like worshiping with young leaders from 18 countries, all passionate about following Jesus and bringing his message of hope to the next generation. After months of planning and prayer, we decided to focus this September event on releasing a year of gospel sharing. Our theme was “Messenger of Hope.”
Looking around the huge tent, I could see many who had trusted Christ though JV evangelistic efforts; now mature believers, they are giving their lives to discipling young people. Hearing their stories and testimonies was inspiring to all of us.
Over and over again we were reminded that our hope is not in our efforts, in Christianity or Christian thoughts and programs, but in Jesus Christ himself. He is hope in flesh, and he shows us how to share that hope with others.
Jesus modeled for us the heart of a messenger. In Matt 9:35-28, Jesus “saw the crowds.” To increase our ability to SEE, we sent all of the conference participants to shopping malls in the region to observe and talk to young people. They reflected on what they saw in them and in the young people of their countries. Mental health issues caused by long periods of social distancing was a common issue, as well as the impact of constant online connection and digital media.
Next, we saw him FEEL compassion towards them, because they were “helpless and harassed, like sheep without a shepherd.” Compassion means to feel with, and this was the emotion that moved Jesus to action.
It is easy for other emotions to move us: the emotions of guilt, responsibility, fear, or even a sense of superiority because we know the truth. True Messengers of Hope feel with the heart of the Father and feel with the pain of those who are far from him. This is the emotion that puts us into motion.
Then, Jesus challenged his disciples to “PRAY to the Lord of the harvest.” Not only does prayer release the power of God, it also changes the hearts of his servants. When we pray, our hearts move closer to the heart of God, and we become aware of both what he is doing and what he wants us to do.
A Messenger of Hope is not formed in a day, or even a four-day conference. Because of that, the participants joined small groups that will continue for two months after they return home. Together, they will study how Jesus equipped his disciples to be fishers of men, and work on putting those insights into practice. Then, they will multiply this to other leaders around them.
We are praying that hundreds of “Share” groups will be launched across the region, and release thousands of young leaders into a year of gospel sharing. Would you pray with us that God would make this dream a reality?
Thank you for your part in this work of God,
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