First Impressions

From my first phone conversation with Executive Director Tony Souder, I knew the Chattanooga Youth Network’s mission was something I could easily get behind.  CYN exists to empower youth leaders as catalysts within the Church to reach the next generation with the gospel of Christ.  In the last three years, they have also launched the Pray For Me Campaign as a tangible way to carry out this mission.  PFMC equips youth and adults within the Church with tools that strengthen their relationships with one another.  I am thrilled to join this team as I share with them a passion for prayer and fostering intergenerational relationships within the Church. 

In high school, I developed this type of intergenerational relationship with my small group leader.  Her efforts to pray for me, listen to me, and challenge me deeply impacted my walk with Christ and expanded my view of God throughout high school.  Now, five years later, she continues to be a spiritual role model and dear friend to me. 

As a product of my small group leader’s faithful prayers on my behalf, I can only imagine how the Pray For Me Campaign could have further enriched my life had it been launched at my church.  Now reaping the benefits of one small group leader investing in my life, I know I would have flourished even more from the intentional prayers and involvement of other church members.  PFMC extends the responsibility and joy in praying for a young person to multiple members of the church.  This naturally alleviates pressure from one small group leader and allows the whole church to share in the discipling of their youth.  I believe older generations in the Church coming alongside youth as friends, as resources, and as prayer warriors can be life-giving to the adults as well as the youth involved.  Because of this, I am honored to join PFMC as we strive to spark even more fruitful relationships like mine in the lives of young people in our churches.   

The Pray For Me Campaign sparks these relationships beginning with Launch Sunday, to me the most exciting day in the process.  This is the day that students choose their three people to commit to pray for them for the upcoming school year.  As silly as it sounds, I teared up reading one of the stories about a young girl approaching three older women and asking them to pray for her.  There is just something so beautiful to me about a child asking the Church to step up and be the Church to her, to be the hands and feet of Jesus to her and walk through life with her as her prayer champions. 

I love that the students initiate this process because it gives them a voice and role in choosing their prayer champions.  This means that in every trial and joy throughout that year, whether they don’t receive that prized ACT score or they are accepted into their dream school, whether they get injured before the championship game or win the game, whether they experience heartbreak or fall in love, whether they wrestle with sin or overcome it, in every single moment, they can pause and remember that they have at least three advocates praying to God on their behalf, cheering them on.

This vision is why I am so excited to join the Pray For Me Campaign and look forward to watching it spread God’s greatness!