According to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll, Vermont is ranked as the 50th least religious state, or stated another way, we are the least churched state in the entire country. This is likely because Vermonters see themselves as ruggedly independent, capable of making it on their own, and skeptical of any need for salvation other than one of their own making. As the National Network of Youth Ministries (NNYM) state coordinator for my home state this fact creates some interesting obstacles and unique challenges. I have wrestled through the problem of how do we find the youth leaders in our churches and get them working together when churches exhibit the same individualistic attitude and are often unwilling to meet with perceived outsiders. There is an overwhelming fear about networking in some, if not many, areas of the state that makes unifying seem impossible at times!
Enter the Newsboys with their God’s not Dead Tour along with Evangelist Bob Lenz and we see the tide shifting! I have been honored to work alongside Jason Kaat and Life Promotions as a volunteer representative tasked with the honor of serving as a liaison between Life Promotions and the very able city coordinator Pastor Trey Cates as he prepares for the Newsboys arrival in Barre, VT on March 22.
As Trey and I have started preparing our state’s Christian leaders for the potential response to the Gospel that we will see that night we are excited to witness an outbreak of cooperation and unity around the cause of Christ like we have never seen before. As our planning has progressed we are finding church doors opening throughout central Vermont and beyond. We have identified numerous youth leaders and pastors who have never joined or been made aware of the existence of the NNYM! We are hearing from churches all around the state that want to join our prayer support effort and provide counselors for the night of the show. Most importantly we are hearing from churches who want to join a network of like-minded churches to ensure that those who respond to the eternal message of hope and restoration that Bob will boldly proclaim have a church to attend where they can progress as disciples who make disciples. At our upcoming training and orientation meeting we hope to connect many into our evangelistic efforts as well as the National Network to show them that we are indeed “Better Together”.
To my fellow Network coordinators I want to encourage you to connect with our friend and peer Jason Kaat to find out how you can partner with Life Promotions as the tour progresses to it’s remaining cities! To the Newsboys and Bob Lenz I want to thank you for having a Kingdom vision. Your willingness to place an emphasis on the person and message of Jesus Christ and to aid in building His church proves to this guy that you have your priorities inline with His call on your lives and I am grateful to you for providing our Network with a giant jump-start!