Friday, January 20, 2012

Perspectives from the Field: Hope Centered in God

How do we teach hope that is centered in God in the midst of uncertain times to our students?

“I hoped her with her problem.”

My 82-year-old grandma is from Yazoo City, Mississippi. I’m not sure how much schooling she finished, but sometimes she uses words in what appears to be the wrong way. I have never heard her say the word help. It’s always hope.

Can we "hope" people in these uncertain times? What might that look like in student ministry?

Testimony is one way to teach hope in these uncertain times.

In Revelation 12:11 it speaks of overcoming by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony. Through the testimony we share stories of how God is providing materially, emotionally, and spiritually. We evaluate our life and see where God is actively moving, showing Godself, and accomplishing the word of God in our lives.

The testimony encourages the speaker and the hearer. It reminds us who God is in Christ and renews our hope. 

My Hope is Built, the hymn offers an image of hope that we can affirm. To sing it or read it even is a way to testify to the goodness, mercy, and faithfulness of God in troubled times:
              When Darkness veils his lovely face,
              I rest on his unchanging grace.
              In every high and stormy gale,
My  anchor holds within the veil

              On Christ the solid rock I stand,
              all other ground is sinking sand;
              all other ground is sinking sand.

These uncertain and trying times are the sinking sand. They will not last.

Teach youth to testify, to tell the story of how God's story is shaping their lives and giving them strength and hope. Remind them that sharing where our story intersects with God’s story is not a competition but it is for the edification of the body of the Christ.

A caution: Sometimes when people begin to share they intend to share God’s faithfulness but it turns into a sob story or pity party. As you lead testimony time be sure to remind people to focus on God’s grace and provision.

Testimonies "hope" us in times of uncertainty.

by Charity Goodwin-Rosario
Pastor, Blue Ridge UMC
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

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