we have journeyed together as a TYM Family, a distinct culture has evolved.
Some aspects of our culture have been intentional, conscious. While other
dynamics have simply happened upon us. Some of our culture, we sought out. Some
of our culture found us along the way. This is a picture of the co-laboring
partnership between man and God. Some principles are so clear that the need and
value of working toward application is obvious. Others are ideas and concepts
you had no idea you needed until the Lord intersected them with your charted
the midst of a culture, language develops. Often language rises up to give
clarity to something sensed, but not quite articulated. We understand from
Genesis 1 the potency of words and how they provide a framework within which
everything functions. Words not only create clarity but they also have the
capacity to form a path of direction. And at times, words bring simplicity and
conciseness to complex matters.
summer, another layer of TYM culture and language worked its way to the
surface. I preached a message to conclude each week of camp entitled “Keepers
of the Flame.” This message was simply meant to be a final declaration, an
exhortation, to encourage students to remain on the path of Jesus. Within the
confines of that message, one word seemed to elevate above the rest…YES.
wake up every morning with a YES in your heart to Jesus and to conclude every
night with the continuation of this YES is the essence of the life of faith. As
we navigate the contours of life, highs and lows are inevitable and change is
perpetual, but it is the determination to maintain a constant YES that permeates
the life of those called faithful.
Yes on a random,
unspectacular Tuesday in March…
Yes in the middle
of math class…
Yes in the field
and on the court…
Yes at age 15…
Yes when its
easy…Yes when it hurts…Yes when others are watching…Yes when no one sees…Yes
when the crowds are cheering and yes in the silence…Yes when its popular…Yes
when its not.
And YES in our
2018 is the
summer of YES for TYM!
In my many years
of leading students, I have often heard the lament of others regarding the
amount of “emotionalism” in youth ministry, and teenagers at large. Often these
concerns call into question the validity and sincerity of oaths made in the
heat of the moment. Were they contrived? Manipulated? Fabricated? As a young
man I sat in camp services, conferences and weekly youth services. The YES’s I
released through tears, and with emotions, still ring out today. The Lord still
hears those YES’s and has continually met my YES with a YES of His own. On any
given night during the summer at Camp Jackson, a sound rises up from the mouths
and hearts of a young generation. No doubt, if one listens closely, within the
crescendo you can subtly make out the word YES. The YES takes on many shapes
and forms. It has varying contexts based upon childhood experiences, local
church settings and cities of residence. Despite the diverse uniqueness in the
room, there is one commonality which binds together this beautiful family…our
My mind frequently
fills with imagination and wonder at what the future holds on the other side of
all those YES’s.
It is clear to me, for years we have
leveraged pulpit time, classes and personal conversations to teach a generation
to just say no…