Your Compassion Gauge
The back-bone purpose of HELP CRIES is to learn about ex-teens. This is a good first step in preparing for reaching out to youth... actually for any age that God has placed on your heart. It's much like the 12 spies checking out their new promised land, in Joshua chapter 1. It took courage, and faith in God's plan and promises. Other precious moments in scripture come to mind, like Nehemiah spying out the destruction of Jerusalem in Nehemiah chapter 2.
These actions become a thermometer; a fuel gauge, that helps us get a good idea of our passion for ex-teens and their need of our Savior. Though God promised victory and ownership of the land flowing with milk and honey, ten of the twelve spies, rejected God's directives. All of the people, themselves, chose to believe the ten dissidents. In doing so, they signed their own death warrant that would be carried out over the next 38 years in the wilderness, and causing their children to suffer also.
Mind Your Focus
I would hasten to point out, that God's gift of a promised land to His people included giants. But another aspect of this 'passion thermometer' is seen in whether the people focused on the giant people or the giant fruits; the giant provisions from God (giant clusters of grapes, etc.). In the golden classroom, and elsewhere, it's crucial we maintain our focus on God's fruits in His/our harvest field before us.
In our neighborhood, and maybe yours too, ex-teens gather at fast-food restaurants, often just to hang out. They gather in small groups of 3 to 6 and swap the latest news. You can think of these gatherings as Golden Classrooms. We call them 'Golden' classrooms because they offer many golden lessons that typically only cost the price of a burger, fries, coke, or coffee.
Previous short visits to your classroom will tell you when your 'ex-teen teachers' are most likely there. Plan on eating slow and staying a while. These classes are none of the grab 'n run ten-minute events.
Before you enter your 'golden classroom' make sure you've prepared your heart, spirit, and mind for the lessons you'll learn. Be very clear. YOU are the student. THEY are the teachers. Yes, your teachers have orange hair, facial jewelry, and dress with no concern for their appearance (or maybe they really do.)
Love-listening Works Here
Sit in a booth close enough to theirs that will allow you to be able to overhear their conversations. Your golden classroom lessons will teach you what's on their hearts and minds. Begin to learn the many ways that Satan has twisted the ex-teen's version of truth. This is where the powerful skill of Love-listening comes in. (Love-listening is covered elsewhere in this workshop.)
These golden classroom lessons will also teach you that often, 'normal' appearing ex-teens are as troubled inside, as those with strange dress codes.
Remind yourself moment by moment, you are in the classroom not for gathering gossip or garbage data, but learning how and where to reach out to INDIVIDUALS that Jesus gave His life for. If you don't have this compassionate attitude, leave.
More than once, I've felt led and acted by handing my cellphone to one of the youth and began with, “Hey. Can you show me how to...?”
What are some other places God might place your golden classroom? Sports events, on-line chat rooms, fairs, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus etc. Use your imagination; use your heart. Ask your friends of other places you can hang out that might become your golden classroom in your golden years of service to our Lord before His soon sure return.