No. 5: The Importance of Youth Engagment!

May 1, 2024

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Dear CLDI Family and Friends,

Recently, you should have received a giving catalog in the mail for our Youth Works summer initiatives. I don’t know if everyone knows, but my first role with CLDI was as a Youth Works staff member, spending the summer months engaging with kids. While I love all that CLDI does, the Youth Works department will always hold a special place in my heart. Summer is particularly important because it offers a significant amount of time when kids are available. Our summer activities not only provide fun but also create shared experiences that serve as a passport to speak the Gospel truth into their lives. Trust is earned in these moments. I have countless stories of kids opening up during hikes, pool hangouts, or summer camps. Investing in our community through programs like this is crucial because the impact, though subtle and often unnoticed, is profound. I say subtle and unnoticed because it’s challenging to quantify the lives transformed by CLDI’s youth over the last 40 years.

I wish I could say that the time we spend with the youth changes their lives, and 100% choose God. However, the reality is that is not ours to hold. We pray for all the kids we hang out with. The hard truth is that the prevalence of youth violence in the absence of structured supervision is continuing to rise. That hits hard. The news stories in our local Gazette are not just headlines to me; they are kids I’ve personally connected with, eaten meals with, and Kelsey (my wife) and I have had many in our home. It isn’t easy to understand why youth make certain decisions, but I’ve witnessed firsthand the positive impact of mentorship with caring adults. This investment of time in the kids we serve matters – because, who knows… one of these kids could one day change a neighborhood for good.

Currently reading & listening.

The Other Half of Church by Jim Wilder and Michel Hendricks explores the often-overlooked emotional and relational aspects of Christian community. The authors argue that many churches focus solely on doctrinal teaching while neglecting the importance of emotional health and relational connection. Through practical insights and biblical principles, they advocate for a holistic approach to church life that integrates both spiritual and emotional well-being, fostering deeper and more authentic relationships within the body of Christ.

CLDI Monthly Snapshot

  • The interns are on their exposure trip from Saturday, April 27th -Wednesday, May 8th! Please be praying for their time in Central Asia, their travels, and their overall health.
  • We are working our way through our spring Warehouse session our Youth Work discipleship initiative. Our students, so far, are engaged in the content and pushing themselves in the workouts. Levi, our Director of Operations, is leading with us, and it is a blast to have him involved and working with our students.
  • We have HUGE news that one of the Rail//Line apprentices has passed both his written and physical driving test! This was a huge achievement for him!

Scripture to Meditate On

Matthew 18:5-6. “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. If anyone causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” These words underscore the gravity of our responsibility to nurture and protect the youth we serve. Despite the challenges, I’ve seen firsthand the impact of mentorship and support in their lives. It’s a privilege to invest in their future, knowing that each moment counts.



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