March 15th // Kurtis McFadden

Posted on by SpokaneYFC

I made a dreadful mistake in high school. Somehow I decided it was a wise idea to take a few online English classes to cancel out my English requirements for graduating both high school and college. What has resulted are innocent thoughts, delightfully unbound by the prisons of grammar/punctuation/normalcy. In other words, my sentences are fragmented and informal and constantly being underlined by the infamous red and green squiggles of Microsoft Word’s spellcheck. I’m used to ignoring the warnings but was recently writing and Word gave me an admonition I had never seen before:

"non-standard use of words (consider revising)."

I couldn’t have been more pleased with my work. That’s it. That’s exactly our purpose on this planet — to be non-standard. Non-standard acts of love, outrageous examples of generosity, relentless advocates of hope, atypical ways of being. As those belonging to the Lord, as Christ’s ambassadors, we are to make a splash in this world, a great splash indeed. If it’s normal, if it’s common, if it’s accepted, if we’re not being asked to rethink or revise what we’re doing — we may not be trying very hard.

So, there is a point to all this. Youth for Christ is not a normal place nor ministry. It’s messy. And to exist in the mess you need to get sloppy sometimes. We have a student who came to our youth center in West Central a month ago coming down from a meth high. After plenty of tears, encouragement, and prayer, this student shattered his pipe in the street and dumped his stash down the sewer drain later that night. He has since pursued living in a new home, getting back into school, and changing his life around. And it’s still not shiny and polished. He is underage and smokes tobacco, is getting into trouble, and still has quite the rowdy group of friends. But that’s where we remain. Continuing to give support and encouragement. Speaking the truth of how indescribably valuable he is, how capable of change he is, introducing him to a Love that will set him free from his addiction and his fear.

I’ve come to love YFC for this reason. We let the Spirit flow wildly and we follow the best we can. A few nights ago we had a church group come to serve and witness what an organized and lovely ministry we have going on…the kids had other plans. As it was the first sunny, warm day of Spring, all our students bailed to the park as soon as they had eaten dinner. This meant we could do what was normal and expected: I could get up and give a teaching and we could split into small groups with the few remaining students — or — we could scrap my plan, get in our cars, drive the neighborhood picking up students, and start a bonfire by the river and talk about life, memories, and God there. I think you know what happened.

Therefore, as those committed to holistically caring for the youth in Spokane, we will keep speaking hope to the bruised and hurting souls of the kids in our neighborhoods. And we may do that in manners that ruffle some feathers. We are going to offer yoga to students to allow them a place of peace, healthy reflection, and an opportunity to accept and love their bodies. We will walk with students who are in the midst of overcoming meth and cocaine addictions, but may not break them of tobacco, vape, or chewing bents. We walk with them through teen pregnancy without judgment. And beyond any example I can give, we are more interested in sharing the hope of abundant life through real relationship, an understanding of how beautiful and loved every human is and introducing youth to the Divine Spirit who promises freedom, than we are in following the rules, performing religion, or conducting conversions. I hope people ask us to consider revising.

"Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of hope — not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; nor the strident gates of self-righteousness, which creak on shrill and angry hinges; nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of “Everything is gonna be all right,” but a very different, sometimes very lonely place," the place of truth-telling, about your own soul first of all and its condition, the place of resistance and defiance, the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it might be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle — and we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we are seeing, asking people what they see."
-Victoria Safford


City Life Director // West Central


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