Rebuilders of Almost Anything

Are we, as the North American Church, living in sin by spending so much time trying to keep our kids moral and safe? Or are we equipping and mobilizing our youth to live for something that is worth Jesus dying for?

Youth/Family Pastor and Youth Unlimited Mission Director Jerry Meadows shares a journey through questions on how we help students live on mission for Christ everyday.

For a free E-book on teaching students about missional living, click here. To hear further conversation by church leaders on this topic and others including when pastors aren’t missional enough and moralistic therapeutic deism, click here or watch the video below.

Welcome To The Table

While serving a remote village in the mountains of Haiti, I spent an afternoon inviting people to church. The most common response: “I don’t have nice enough clothing.” The heart of this response keeps people away in every culture: the fear of judgment, the rags of shame and the scars of old stones.

The Jesus-revolution launched a new way and a new community, an upside-down kingdom where all are invited to the table. It is a place where the poor are treasured and orphans find a home. It is a feast where earthly royalty and blue-collar tradesmen are peers. Every man-made hierarchy is crushed under the shared need to be born again and saved by grace.

I challenge you to read the gospels and note the times that Jesus is at a table or sharing a meal. Consider one example from the Gospel of Matthew:

As Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.” Matthew 9:10

The table where Jesus wanted to be and the people he attracted and welcomed were not just the well-dressed and well-adjusted. This new community is radically different from old models, simply because everyone is invited: the religious leader and the woman caught in adultery; the wealthy tax agent and the widow who gave a penny.

Most expected the promised Messiah to wage a physical war against political oppression. Instead, Jesus pursued our hearts and laid ruin to the walls of prejudice and pride.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 3:28 & 29

This is unconditional love. This mosaic of grace defines us; it does not count every idea as equal or imply that we don not stand on a strong foundation of truth. Rather, it means that we are united not by our backgrounds, preferences or ideals, but in the fact that we are all broken people in need of the unconditional love of God.

The great equalizer is our need. The great provision is unconditional love. Jesus destroys the hierarchies of this world and sets a chair for everyone at the feast. You need not be from the right background, have nice clothes or have kept the rules to be invited. Come as you are. The table is available to you.

A passionate worship leader and gifted songwriter, Andy Needham is a devoted champion for the local church. Beyond his role with the Andy Needham Band he serves as a speaker, consultant, coach and worship leader. In 2015, the Andy Needham Band will serve as the Worship Band at Youth Unlimited’s Live It.

The Coming Revolution in Missions

“Revolution” is a huge word. It sounds like painted faced warriors crying “freeeeedom”. That’s not what I mean. This is the “revolution” that a wheel takes, a moving forward. It could happen fast or slow but it is happening. If it doesn’t happen, we’re stuck and everyone needs to get out and push, which is messy but necessary sometimes.


In the church I grew up in, THE mission question was, “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” The only proper responses were, “Here I am. Send me”, or to put money in the offering. Now the mission question is, “How are you involved?” There’s a wide variety of ways and an entire lifestyle to be developed. Everyone has a next step in missional living. What’s yours?


There is a greater emphasis on:

  • Wholistic missional living and everyday justice instead of doing tasks or cold evangelism. The Church will be better at connecting the dots of why and how to care for others not just what to get done. We will get greater at verbally sharing the Gospel through life stories and not just spiritual laws.
  • Co-learning rather than condescending. The book Serving With Eyes Wide Open gives some great principles and tragic illustrations of this.
  • Relationship above organization. The latter must find their place in serving the organism of the Body of Christ not trying to keep their programs alive.
  • Short term trips (like Serve) as one mode of involvement and a focusing on many other ways to participate in missions. Life is missions and Jesus is as/more concerned with the other 51 weeks of the year. Short term missions is not a stand alone event. It’s meant to be woven through the spiritual journey to expand the worldview and Godview of the Goer, the Host, and those “receiving” the work. Understanding the types of short-term trips will be essential. There are 8 variables (length, skill set needed, on-field ministry, etc.) that make up thousands of variations. Applying the Standards of Excellence to each type will be essential. (
  • A long list of possibilities for mission involvement as unique as the individual.


Missions is about the Church being seen, felt and heard in the trenches of human experience (The Core, Christine Caine). We must continue moving forward toward that objective which is articulated by Jesus in Matthew 28.


There’s a wide variety of ways and an entire lifestyle to be developed. Everyone has a next step in missional living. What’s yours?

Faces of ThereforeGo – Cathy Tilstra and Linda Bonnier

Cathy Tilstra

Q. What do you do to stay relevant to youth?

A. I spend time listening to them, watching their posts on social media, being someone who shows love and support by spending time with them. Youth are seeking meaningful relationships with adults who are authentically engaged with them, who show them they matter and have value. That takes a heart reflecting the image of Christ, and he is eternally relevant.

Q. I never leave for youth group without:

A. My phone, I know I should say my Bible . . . but it’s my phone. I have my Bible on my phone, if that counts.

Q. What do you do in your free time? A. Sleep. ☺ Q. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for a youth group fundraiser?

A. We are far too civilized in Canada to do anything crazy.

Q. Where would you like to travel someday?

A. Europe and Israel. I would love to walk the places Jesus walked, touch the stones he touched, immerse myself in the water he was baptized in.

Linda Bonnier

Q. I never leave for youth group without my:

A. Heart, mind and ears open. Keeping myself open, the students will open up about themselves.

Q. If your students described you in five words or less, what would they say?

A. Happy and kind, consistent, fun.

Q. What do you do in your free time?

A. I love making cards.

Q. Where would you like to travel someday?

A. Greece.

Q. What is one website that you visit every day?

A. Pinterest. I get lots of ideas for our little ones and mid-week programs (and card ideas!)