11.16.2010

youth ministry still changes lives

i recently read a gripping article in the latest issue of GROUP magazine about a man named Chris Keith. if you need a reminder of how youth ministry really does change lives and gives hope to hurting young people, read on. i'd love to get him to speak to our teens some day and share his story...

you can read the full article originally posted by CNN here. here's an excerpt, but head there for the rest:

When Chris was five years old his distraught father attempted to kill him, shooting him in the head after he'd already suffocated his mother and shot his brother to death. After Chris appeared to be dead, his father then committed suicide. Even though medics on the scene declared everyone in the house dead, Chris somehow survived his terrible wounds. Later, during his recovery, he was told by relatives that his family had died in a car accident and that he was the only survivor. When he was 12 his grandparents took him to a counselor to reveal the truth to him. In the process they pulled out newspaper clippings that described the crime.

He carried one of those newspaper clippings in his wallet, and slowly retreated from friendships. He was a loner all through middle and high school. When he was 14 he summoned the courage to show the clippings to his youth minister, who cried as he read what had happened to Chris. "It was amazing to me because I had never seen a man cry before," he says. "It made me realize somebody cared about me." Just as the youth pastor was finishing the article, Chris' best friend walked in - he handed him the article and watched as he read and cried.

Chris says his youth minister and his best friend, as well as his grandparents and his church, helped him navigate his anger, grief, and doubt.

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