2017–2019 Mission Grant: Equipping Youth to Witness for Life — Y4Life, $25,000
Y4Life — Sharing The Gospel Through Life Issues
By Laura Davis Hemminger, Director of Y4Life, Lutherans for Life, with Cheri Fish, Mission Editor
The decision of how to confront an unplanned pregnancy faces teens and young adults more than any other age group. Out of the 1.2 million abortions that take place every year in the United States, most are performed on young, single women. At the current rate, nearly one third of women will have an abortion in their lifetime, so it is likely that Lutheran youth will come into contact with someone facing this kind of decision: possibly a close friend, family member, or even themselves.
At the same time that youth and young adults are facing these life or death situations, they are hearing the message of the Gospel less and less. Approximately 27 percent of those who have an abortion have no religious affiliation. Through this heart-wrenching situation, God provides us with a wonderful opportunity to share the Gospel.
The purpose of the Y4Life program at Lutherans For Life is to equip young people to be Gospel-motivated voices for Life. Through education, training and service learning, these young people will be ready to provide guidance and information about Life issues and will be credible witnesses of the Gospel to their peers.
The $25,000 LWML Mission Grant at the 2017 Albuquerque Convention is being used to expand the current campus ministry programs to include all who attend Lutheran high schools: Lutherans and those of other backgrounds and faiths. These programs will equip youth to be Gospel-motivated voices for Life through identifying, training, and mentoring student leaders and faculty, as well as providing ongoing support to existing Life groups on Lutheran campuses.
Since 2017, we have been laying the groundwork for future success. This has included a college-age intern who is responsible for communicating with Lutheran high schools and researching their Life ministry needs. We have also expanded our existing programs hosting our first mini-conference for students at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. In 2018, our first year hosting the event, we had over 75 students attend, eager to learn more about witnessing to the Gospel through Life issues.
Ongoing outreach events will allow us to share our message and ministry, including our Y4LifeServant Event Program. Servant events are weekend-long trips that introduce high school students to life-affirming ministries in their own community: pregnancy centers, disabilities ministries, and senior centers. After the event, many students will continue to serve at these ministries with a newfound respect for life at all of its stages.
We also plan on adding a new full-time Director of High School Ministry to our Y4Life staff, as we currently have only one full-time staff member. Adding this new position will allow for more hands-on work targeted specifically at recruiting, training, mentoring, and supporting high school-aged leaders. We hope to officially launch the new Y4Life High School Ministry at the end of 2019.
We sincerely thank the LWML for this mission grant to enable us to reach out to answer a need by equipping young people to be Gospel-motivated voices for Life. This mission grant will provide education, training, and service learning for Lutheran students, not only to provide guidance and information about Life issues, but also to teach them be credible witnesses to the Gospel to their peers.
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This story was originally featured in the Spring 2019 Lutheran Woman's Quarterly. Order your subscription here.
For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.