Morgan and I have done extensive work with the homeless, worked with students in the suburbs, been overseas, and many other contexts. However, our experiences with Club Christ have been quite amazing. We have learned a lot about the challenges of growing up in the “projects” without a father. Walking outside to caution tape and police officers because there was a drive by shooting is not a rare occurrence. A diet consisting primarily of “Hot Cheetos”, and other packaged, processed foods is the status quo. Drug use, deals, gangs, violence, etc. are a part of these kid’s everyday lives. The struggle for them in school is a completely different monster. Moving onto the next grade is quite an accomplishment, one that may be classified as rare.
Growing up as a middle class white kid in the suburbs & “Bible Belt” has left me blind & ignorant to some incredible realities about life in America. Spending quality time with these kids, and seeing their struggles first hand has changed my outlook on life, and urban/inner city ministry. No longer can I carelessly judge a young, Africa American kid who can’t seem to pay attention during Bible Study because he has a an issue that stems back to his mother’s irresponsibility while he was in the womb. I can’t get upset because the words “please”, and “thank you” do not exist in the vocabulary of these kids because manners have not been modeled for them. I can’t get mad when they don’t make the grades I, and the system expects because they have no influence or help from home.
In the midst of all of this Club Christ provides hope. They provide an amazing staff and passionate volunteers who are willing to help patiently work through these issues with the kids. They offer these kids much more than an afternoon of tutoring, and a snack. To the best of their ability Club Christ seeks to introduce these kids to a Savior whom they may have never encountered otherwise.
Today we joined the Club Christ staff, and the students in the Jr. High & High School program for a week of camp in Jennes Park, California. For a week they will be removed from the distractions of the “ghetto”, and in an environment where their hearts may be softened and vulnerable to the Holy Spirit. Last night we cooked burgers at the condo, and spent some time preparing the students for this week. I shared a quick word about life “back in the real world” after camp, and how our prayer is that they will seek to make Jesus THEIR Lord. We challenged them to figure out who Jesus is TO THEM, and not just what they know of Jesus because of people like us sharing OUR story with them. We warned them not to think that life back home will always look, and feel like life at camp. Our prayer is that Jesus will become more real to them if they already know Him personally, and that those who don’t will make Jesus their Lord as a result of connecting with Him at camp.
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