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Why I'm passionate about reaching youths for Jesus

Worship at The Rock Church of San Diego, California, held Sunday, April 18, 2021.
Worship at The Rock Church of San Diego, California, held Sunday, April 18, 2021. | Christy Radecic

On Wednesday, June 26, Rock Church is partnering with local San Diego schools and youth ministries to host a free youth event called Just1 San Diego. We are expecting thousands of middle school and high school students to gather and experience powerful performances by special guests Elevation Rhythm and Christian rapper Hulvey. I will also be sharing with the students a message of hope that will prayerfully transform their lives.

People often ask me why I am passionate about reaching youth for Christ. What many don’t know is that while I am currently the Senior Pastor at Rock Church, my first ministry role was in youth ministry. In 1984, I started ministering to teenagers in my neighborhood. I spent most of my time with kids who didn’t go to church. I conducted school assemblies and hung out at pizza places and high school football games. I eventually became a youth pastor at Horizon Christian Fellowship.

During that time, one of the most powerful things I experienced was when we equipped the students to do the work in the ministry. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:11-12, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

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We trained the students how to set up the room, perform skits, lead worship, and preach. The more they took on leadership roles in the ministry, the more God blessed their faith. The verse that I relied on in my early years of youth ministry was Ephesians 3:20. I always believed that God was going to exceed my expectations and that’s exactly what happened. As I continue to work with students, it is exciting to see how God continues to increase my faith and theirs.

My commitment to reaching this generation for Christ also stems from my childhood. My high school years were so enjoyable. I remember growing and maturing while I discovered who I was. It is exciting to see young people with their whole lives before them, dreaming about their future. They inspire me to dream and make a difference. I see how important it is for them to have the right information to make the best decisions for their life. I also see how powerful the influence of their friends can be. Sometimes, that influence can be so much more than the influence of an adult. It breaks my heart to see how misled so many teenagers and young people are.

As we pray for Just1 San Diego, our hope is that we see countless young people accept Christ as their Savior and eventually share the Gospel with their friends. The Bible says in Romans 1:16 that “The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” It is supernatural and has the ability to change lives.”

As I reflect on my youth ministry days, it helps guide the direction of my current ministry. I am reminded that the Gospel is the only message we have. There is no other reason for the hope that we have. The Gospel works. It changed the lives of the students when I started doing youth ministry in 1984 and continues to change the lives of students forty years later! Many students are looking for purpose, trying to find what is only provided in the gospel. When we look at what is going on in our culture and watch the media, it is a reminder that this generation has fewer and fewer credible opportunities to hear and receive the gospel. That is why it is now more important than ever to make the Gospel simple and accessible to them all.

The Just1 San Diego event is just one of the ways we are reaching this generation. My hope is that God would ignite the hearts of pastors and churches across the country and that we would become passionate about reaching youth and surrounding communities for Christ. At the Rock Church, we are developing a Just1 Evangelism training to equip people to share the Gospel with this generation. The training will be available later this year to anyone who would like to learn how to share their faith.

If you are in San Diego, we invite you to join us at Just 1 San Diego on Wednesday, June 26. For more information, visit: and for those who would like to receive more training on how to share your faith, visit:

Miles McPherson is the Senior Pastor of the Rock Church in San Diego. He is also a motivational speaker and author. McPherson's latest book “The Third Option” speaks out about the pervasive racial divisions in today’s culture and argues that we must learn to see people not by the color of their skin, but as God sees them—humans created in the image of God.


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