The greatest need of the population served: 1 - Jesus, 2 - Community, 3 - Purpose.
How does "The Walk Youth Group" Leadership define and measure success?
1. Jesus - we measure success each time a student recognizes and acknowledges their need for a relationship with Jesus Christ, whether it is a new or renewed commitment.
2. Community - we measure success each time a student or a group of students depends upon each other to grow and maintain their relationship with Christ. In so doing, they set an example to those in their world and cultivate an environment where others want to learn more about the Jesus that they serve.
3. Purpose - we measure success each time we see a student discover and use their individual gifts and talents for God's glory. For example, some of our teenagers are small group leaders, lead bible studies weekly, lead local, national, and foreign relational mission work, help prepare desserts on Saturdays before youth, lead Sunday school classes at their church, lead worship and/or lead in whatever leadership role God lays on their heart. We believe that the earlier a student discovers their gifts, the more likely it is that they will use their servant heart to not only be the Church now but also when they graduate and leave our ministry.
Our greatest joy has been having a multitude of opportunities to watch many students actually accomplish the above as they have grown in their relationship with Christ, build a relationship with Him and each other and spread this to others using the gifts and talents God has given them. We want to help equip churches with passionate and gifted students that are in love with Jesus.
How does "The Walk Youth Group" Leadership define and measure effectiveness?
Providing hands on training to a plethora of teenagers that do relational ministry regularly in our community in the name of Jesus, 9 small group leaders, discipleship training, 117 Bigstuf attendees, 51 New Orleans mission trip attendees, 15 Passion Conference in Atlanta attendees, 130 D-Now weekend students, and help teenagers discover their spiritual gift and then equip them with the tools necessary to use that talent for God's glory.
How does "The Walk Youth Group" Leadership define and measure sustainability?
As many of you know, we have a very modest budget. We do not receive any compensation nor do we have a building payment since our building was gifted to us. Over the years, we have desired that donations go directly to ministry so more youth can attend camp, mission trips, D-Now weekend, Passion conference and other activities.
After obtaining the building in the summer of 2017, we raised almost $50,000 for renovations and repairs without any public fundraising. Most of the work at Building 229 has been done by our students and families along with many in our community that have volunteered to provide services for free or at a reduced cost. These building improvements will help us reduce our monthly costs going forward since most major work has been completed. We have zero debt. Additionally, we have had several families pledge to help cover monthly building expenses.
The Walk Youth Group Overview
Our story began 14 years ago when the church we were attending asked us if we would take the youth to camp. At the time, we taught the preschoolers in Sunday school. However, we agreed to take seven teenagers to Bigstuf, a Christian camp in Panama City Beach. It was at this point that we realized how much we loved investing in the lives of teenagers! After arriving home from camp, the church asked us to take over the youth program. We happily agreed and began a program that met both at our church an also at our home.
In order to expand our reach to students from Thomas, Grady and Leon counties, many who did not attend church, we moved the meetings to our home. When asked to come up with a name for our nondenominational group, the teens camp up with two: The Walk reflects our commitment to follow in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to walk the walk, not just talk the talk; and One Need Now expresses our desire to meet the daily needs of others in our communities.
We meet twice a month during the school year on Sunday afternoons for two and half hours initially at our house and now at our new building. We desire to create a home-style atmosphere where students feel welcomed and loved. We begin each meeting with food, desserts and games before gathering in the Big Room for a time of worship and video Bible lessons, then the students break up into small groups to discuss the lesson and talk about life applications.
We believe that students need three things to help maintain their faith: Jesus, a community of believers and a purpose. Jesus! We believe that we all have sinned and are in need of a Savior. We believe that all who call upon the name of the Lord will be Saved! It’s all about Him!
We teach from the Bible on Sundays as well as during multiple small group studies during the week. We create community through our Sunday afternoon youths, outreach, small groups, mission trips, and other events and activities. We feel that by providing regular outreach relational opportunities we help students develop their gifts, talents and a sense of purpose.
During the year, we participate regularly in a number of local outreach opportunities such as:
Manna drops (delivering donated food) and Thanksgiving outreach.
Playing games and providing entertainment to those that live in subsidized housing areas, especially kids.
Praying for people wherever God leads us such as laundry mats, hotels, restaurants and random neighborhoods, mostly in downtown Thomasville.
Every summer we conduct local outreach, but we also take students to Bigstuf and New Orleans. Bigstuf is a Christian camp located in Panama City Beach FL. The New Orleans mission trip is another amazing opportunity for our students to grow spiritually. In New Orleans, we spend time with the homeless, minister to those on the trollies and in the French market, wash people’s feet, and go wherever God leads us. Sometimes one group will spend the entire afternoon with only one homeless person. We are there to minister to them but they often speak life into our students.
We could have never created such an amazing youth group without the help of an army of volunteers. We cannot begin to thank those who have contributed for how their money, time and love have had an impact on so many students in our community. We are granted the privilege of seeing God’s work first hand and the difference He is making in the lives of many.