Area Youth Invited To Join Youth for Christ
Albany-area middle school/high school students grades 8-12 are invited to attend the first meeting of a newly-formed Christian group, Albany Youth for Christ.
The meeting is this Sunday, April 18, 2004 stalling at 5 p.m. at the Albany Christian Church. Rick Smith is the groups adult leader. “We will have meetings every Sunday at that same time at the same church,” said Smith, whose day job is manager of Albany Casey’s, but whose 24/7 job is living and working for Christ. ‘The use of the Christian Church is strictly a location, a place to meet. Were not trying to influence one denomination over another.’ Smith is a member of the New Hampton Christian Church, where he’s served as youth pastor the past six years. During that time he’s directed a youth group called Rock Solid Youth. Up to 30 area MS/HS students attend weekly devotional meetings at the New Hampton Church.
‘Against that backdrop Smith contemplated eastern Gentry / western Harrison student populace, deciding to launch a new youth group an Albany-based group open to every 8-12, student reading this story.’
“I wanted a fresh start,” said Smith. “I decided with a new start, with a new meeting location, we’d need a new name. That’s why we are now called Albany Youth for Christ.” Smith’s a man of devotion. You read his passion in his eyes, honest eyes. Persuasive eves. Eyes committed to youth betterment. “Students from any church every area church are invited to join.” says Smith, a big-hearted guy who has completed missionary missions to impoverished Haiti. “My heart wants kids in church. To reach every kid out there, especially kids whose parents don’t go to church. Those kids “ the kids whose parents, for whatever reason, don’t attend church regularly may not feel welcome. I want to make them feel welcome. They are welcome to come to our youth meetings and learn about Christ, to see what Christ does and has done in the lives of our youth.,, Albany Youth for Christ meetings will feature Bible-based “praise and worship” assemblies. Smith will encourage youth leadership during meetings. “I want the kids to minister to each other, he said. “We will employ several vehicles to accomplish this, from readings, to drain teams, to videos.” He foresees meetings as fast paced and fun, a recipe for Christian compatibility each meeting beginning with praise and worship, followed by a Bible lesson, then “group discussion,” ending with prayer. Smith’s revelation is for students to, in time, “minister to their own.” He anticipates students appropriating Albany Youth for Christ lessons to respective churches, respective family and friends, enumerating what Christ means to them.
Lee Spradlin, 16, is one area youth who will attend Sunday’s inaugural Albany Youth for Christ meeting.”God’s a big part of my life,” said Lee, a 3-year member of Smith’s fonner Rock Solid Youth group. I started going tochurch three years ago, the same year I joined Ricks group then. I have more peace in my life.”
Myles Manion is another 16-year old, a hard-hitting Warrior football player who freely admits a devout devotion to Christ. Myles is a remarkable young man. He does not care who knows the love he has for Christ. A six-year veteran of Ricks Rock Solid Youth group, Myles is eager to attend this Sunday’s first meeting of Albany Youth for Christ. “I want to see this group take off,” he said. “I want more kids involved in area churches. It’s sad, but it’s true some kids don’t know Him at all.” Asked if being a high school and an admitted Christian is in anyway difficult, Lee said not really. “It’s not like anyone makes fun of me.”
Myles concurred. “Talking about Christ is sometimes hard, but that’s because the people you’re talking with don’t always have a lot to say. “It’s about getting to know Christ’s about extending an invitation to our youth and telling them it’s all iight say “I’m a Christian,” said Smith. “We will teach Jesus is our Savior. He died for our sins. The lessons will examine the love Christ has for all of us.”
Rick Smith looks at today’s youth and sees a bright, promising future. “I sincerely believe God is talking to this generation of young people. I pray for these kids, and during prayer I sense this generation will, in time, change the complexion of our country, our world. I seek a revival among our young. They want to know Christ. They want to know God’s plan not only for them, but for this area. I prayed about this a long time. What should I do? I went to Ministerial Alliance meeting. I prayed after that meeting. That’s when I saw a definite needs for this. That’s how this stailed. That’s how this Sunday’s meeting came to be.”
Myles Manion wants to see 30-40 students this Sunday. “The more the better,” he said. Why should a kid join Albany Youth for Christ? a reporter asked Myles. “It’s a way to get into Heaven,” he said, smiling. Then added a personal testimony, a telling of what a Christ-driven life has meant to him. “I’ve changed the way I act around people. I’m more tolerant. More accepting. We’re not all the same. We don’t all have the same interests.”
Lee Spradlin’s a product of divorce. ‘My parents divorced when I was four, he said. “None of it was easy when I was young. My brother has Downs syndrome. But it’s better now. My mom and stepfather go to church. I do too. Everything is better, we’re all better for it.’
Rick Smith encourages every student grades 8-12 to attend this Sunday’s first meeting. Parents are welcome to the first meeting. And if any parent wants to help with Albany Youth for Christ, or if you wish to volunteer or teach a class, or something similar, please give Rick a call at (660)726-4099. If your teenager wants more infonnation about Sunday’s meeting, they may call Myles Manion at (660)726-0000 or Lee Spradlin a (660)439-0000
Albany Ledger Article April 14, 2004 Vol. 137 NO. 9