Why I Do What I Do: The Vision of CORE

Posted on by YFC Seattle

By Warren Mainard, CORE & Youth Ministry Network Director

Dad, I feel alone when I am at school.  I don’t know any other Christians on my school campus.” I remember how startled I was when my daughter confided that struggle to me midway through her freshman year of High School.  Over the past 18 months, I have spoken with countless students and Youth Leaders across Seattle and it turns out that students all over greater Seattle are saying and feeling the same thing. Students are not alone in feeling alone… they are feeling more isolated and afraid than ever before.

This generation is the most connected generation and the loneliest generation.  They may be the loneliest generation in the history of the world.” -  Barna Research

Our Kids are more lonely than ever.  They have likes and followers, but many do not truly have friends and mentors. A couple of years ago, I drove by a high school that utilizes public busses for transportation.  At the bus stop next to the school, I observed about 50 students who were all waiting for the bus.  They all had headphones in their ears and their faces pointed downward toward their phones.  I thought, “My goodness, all of these kids are lonely and feel isolated, yet they are surrounded by kids.  If they just put away their phone and opened up their hearts, they could be having a party right now!

Our Kids Are More Lonely Than Ever

  • 69 percent say they feel people are around them but not really with them.
  • 68 percent say they feel no one really knows them well.
  • More than half of Gen Zers identify with 10 of the 11 feelings associated with loneliness.

When I was a teen, the emphasis was on fighting a culture of sex and drugs. While drug use, smoking, and sexual activity are all in decline among students in this generation, mental health issues are at an all-time high. We are fighting for the future of today’s youth.  We are fighting for actual lives.

Our Kids and the Mental Health Crisis

  • 68% reported being “anxious, nervous or on edge.”
  • 20% considered suicide in the past year.
  • 91% have experienced at least one physical or emotional symptom due to stress in the past month.

Research reveals that loneliness and social isolation are incredibly harmful to a student’s overall health. It’s critical that young people have spaces where they can connect face-to-face to form meaningful relationships.  Community, real friendship and having a caring adult in your life are essential for improved mental health.  I truly believe, if we can create community for youth, suicide will go down. 

As we have examined the negative impact of isolation and the tremendous power of community, it led us to ask this question… What if students from multiple youth ministries could find community together around their school campus?  That is what CORE is all about! It is a pathway for moving students from isolation to community!  What makes CORE so powerful is that it invites students into a caring community where they can pray, share stories and be encouraged, equipped and empowered to live bold lives of faith.

A diagram displaying how CORE helps students connect to one another.

This is what CORE looks like.  It is local churches and para-church ministries like Youth For Christ coming together as ONE to form Gospel communities on every school campus.

I have heard it said, “Every Generation Needs a New Revolution.”  Seventy-five years ago, a fiery young preacher named Billy Graham sparked a revolution through Youth For Christ that changed a nation.  We need a new revolution for this generation and I believe that God is raising up leaders all over this city who share a vision to see every student and every school saturated with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, how do we get there?  You can’t do community alone.  We need to leave our logos and egos at the door and come together as ONE.  Jesus prayed that we, “may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.” John 17:23

This is what Jesus prayed for and this is the way Jesus planned for us to raise up the next generation of Youth For Christ.

Over the last year, we have partnered with over 50 other youth ministry leaders to form the first of several regional Youth Ministry Networks in Seattle.  Out of this unity, God inspired a vision for a quarterly Youth Worship Gathering called ONE Night. ONE Night is a gathering of students and youth ministries.  We play and eat together, we worship Jesus as ONE Church, we allow students to share testimonies of faith and inspire students with God’s Word.  But the most important thing is this- We end each ONE Night with students gathering together in prayer circles for their schools. When they do this, they get a chance to meet and connect with other believers who attend their school.  They find out, they are not alone! 

We can’t do this alone. We must do this together.  We want to see a missional, gospel community of Christian students at every school campus.  In these CORE groups, students will Share what they see God doing in their lives and in the lives of their peers, Pray for one another and for God’s direction in their lives, and Discover how God is calling them to follow Him every week.  We are praying for students, leaders, parents, educators and community partners to join us in encouraging, equipping and empowering this generation to live bold lives as youth for Christ.

Read more about CORE ▸

If you would like to partner with us in this kingdom mission, please contact me - [email protected]

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