NEW YORK — Amy Williams, a half-black, half-Irish youth ministry leader born in Maine, was living in North Carolina when she decided to pack her bags and find a new home in Chicago's Puerto Rican-dominated Humboldt Park, the neighborhood otherwise known as the motherland, or birthplace of the notorious Latin Kings street gang.
But Williams, a certified gang intervention specialist who founded the platform A Hope Dealer for her ministry work, said the decision to move was not so much hers as it was God's.
The transition to a new home came after what Williams said was God speaking to her frustrations about a burden she felt to reach young people in the streets. At the time, she was a youth pastor at her church in North Carolina and was mentoring kids, but that just wasn't enough. more >>
Pope Francis has admitted that he's "a bit feminist," praising the important role of women in religious life for standing on the "front lines" of the church's "motherly love" and outreach to people who need it most.
Catholic News Service reported on Thursday that Francis was speaking to an audience of young consecrated women and men from around the world, and talked about how evangelism helps 'warm other people's lives with Christ.'
"Here I would like to — forgive me if I'm a bit feminist — give thanks to the witness of consecrated women. Not all of them though, some are a bit frantic!" the Roman Catholic Church leader said to laughter and applause. more >>
NEW YORK — The children are the future? Well, the future is now, according to Larry Acosta, founder and CEO of the Urban Youth Workers Institute, a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to support and train Christians who are walking with and influencing the next generation of leaders.
The Urban Youth Workers Institute describes itself as "a national nonprofit organization that trains and resources urban youth workers to effectively evangelize and disciple youth in at-risk zip codes throughout the U.S." The UYWI's primary goal is "to engage 75,000 urban youth in life-changing discipleship with local youth workers by 2020."
A big part of moving that initiative along is the recently-unveiled Discipleship Toolkit, a free resource compiled of conversation-starting videos, leader guides and student handouts that include an introduction to the Gospel, discipleship support and apologetics resources. It also helps leaders track the progress of students in the areas of spirituality, self, family, community, and education. more >>
A faith-based global ministry has initiated a "Fostering Families" program in which it's calling on over 1,000 churches in America to take in persecuted refugees from the ongoing crisis. Rev. Kevin Jessip, president of Global Strategic Alliance, said Christians are being wiped out from the Middle East, while at the same time being denied visas in the United States, and it's an urgent time for the rest of the Christian body to wake up and help.
"It's inappropriate for the Untied States of America to discriminate against a minority religion who is in dire need of asylum. These are proven cases at the UNHCR that we've seen of people who have been denied, and are in jeopardy of losing their lives," Jessip told The Christian Post in a phone interview on Thursday.
"Not only have they ran and lost everything, but now, in many cases, we are seeing people facing another impending threat, and that is starvation," he said, noting that most of the Christian refugees don't even have basic resources to provide food for themselves. more >>
NEW YORK — Some Christians are more comfortable being in the church than they are being the Church, and are sometimes fired up about serving but reluctant about sacrificing. These are two things that have to change, especially when it come to discipling youth, according to a director for a national outreach organization that focuses on reaching young people on their turf and in their culture.
"There [are] not that many that are called to this. There's not a line of people waiting to do urban youth ministry, let's keep it real. … Ain't that many people," said Luma Haddad, the Young Life urban area director for San Diego South Bay.
Haddad, who works with Latino, black, and Filipino teenagers in junior high and high school, made those remarks Sept. 12 at the Urban Youth Workers Institute's RELOAD one-day training event held at Bay Ridge Christian Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The event, which included various presentations and workshops from urban ministry leaders, was tailored toward equipping and encouraging those who work with youth. more >>
NEW YORK — A Gospel rapper, who said Jesus "saved me from everything ... all types of evil" while he was an inmate at notorious Rikers Island prison, is on a mission to spread the Good News on the subways of New York City, because he believes that is what Jesus wants him to do.
Elsworth Hewitt, 37, adopted the name Brimstone when he decided to become a Gospel rapper while at Rikers Island where, up until a few years ago, he was housed in a facility with more than 300 other adult male offenders.
It was there he started rapping for Jesus, although he had long been a hip-hop fan. more >>