The places where our leaders, every one of them warriors for Jesus, go are often filled with political tension, physical danger, and spiritual upheaval. It gets risky. And it takes a toll on the soul. That’s why the heart of a leader needs rest—then the body of a leader can take risks to rescue.
The heart of a leader makes the leader. That’s why we try to nurture the hearts of our “warrior leaders” who have given years to training youth leaders with us. Without physically being there in person, we encourage them by intentionally and intensely engaging in Zoom calls and emails to pursue their personal well-being. Recently we went beyond Zoom and email…we sent them to the “The Heart of a Leader” intensive, a soul-searching retreat—an opportunity to rest and restore, to dig deeper into who they are and who Jesus is to them.
One leader expressed the sentiments of them all: “The Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry apostles express our deepest appreciation to you for allowing us to attend such a soul-refreshing, Spirit-filled time of personal examination and time alone with God, and to return to the battle with full hearts and rested bodies.” This is what it means to provide rest for warriors for Jesus!
These trainers, and many others, take the risk to rescue others. We asked Mark Juma, an experienced warrior-leader who equips leaders and reaches the unreached in Kenya, to give his own account of the Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry Forum held recently in Baragoi.
“Baragoi is home of two communities, the Turkanas on one side and the Samburus on the other side. What separates them is the road. Both are pastoralists who depend on livestock as their livelihood. Ethnic conflicts have always been the order of the day and they frequently raid one another for goats, cattle, and camels. War is ever-imminent.
Because of the fear of rampant war in this region, many Christian leaders from outside fear coming to this region, resulting in the denial of the Gospel to the people here. So, the training we did was like water to thirsty souls—at just the right time. Jesus is the only remedy to this war menace
The young people, energetic as they are, initiated and poisoned with the language of war, carry dangerous guns with ease. Their only hope in life is to leave the guns, carry the Bible, and spread the good news of peace. This can happen only if someone goes to them. And it does happen when we equip church leaders to reach and disciple them with the Good News of Jesus.
So we went.“
We met with pastors, youth pastors, and youth leaders from various backgrounds. Pastor Lokompe commented: “The JFYM training has come at the right time to us. We badly need the ministers of the Lord to talk to our young people. They are perishing by the use of guns, but only Jesus can save their lives.”
They shared their testimonies and ably discussed how to move forward in implementing what they learned during the training. After the two days, many saw the need of reaching out to the villages, to talk to the young herders in the fields and in the schools, to tell them the good news of Jesus’ love and salvation.
What if each of us really prayed for one of these “warriors for Jesus”? Will you choose to pray for that one to rescue the hearts of the young people in their communities?
This blog is taken from a ministry update sent out by Barry St. Clair, President of East-West. Learn more about this organization here: EASTWEST.ORG