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Guest Blog–Adam Hollingsworth

Posted by Adam Hollingsworth on

I never talked about Jesus on my youth group trip…and I think that's okay.

First off, I realize that this is the first blog post I've published in over a month. I've realized during this time how much I really love doing this. It's a chance for me to get stuff off of my chest and somewhere into the open. If people read it, great. If they don't well that's just fine as well.

This past week, I led my first ever youth group trip. Thunder Mountain took 13 students to Northern Phoenix to go on a lake and stay in an AirBnB. It was quite the adventure. An adventure where Jesus' name was never once mentioned. An adventure where we never prayed as a group. An adventure where I never mentioned anything about being a "Christian".

I say adventure because we showed up to the lake and the boat we were planning on renting wasn't available. Well, actually there wasn't a single boat available at all. We called other companies around the lake to see if they had a boat available and there was nothing anywhere. The trip was doomed. The only thing available were jet skis.

This thought terrified me. I've never been on a jet ski before and I only had a few options. First, I could call the trip a failure, and call the lake off and try to find something good to do in Phoenix on a whim. Second, I could stick all five of my volunteers on a jet ski and let them drive students around on the lake. This would be pretty lame and cost a ton of money. Or, lastly, I could entrust the high school students with a jet ski that is worth over ten grand. This way, I could rent only three, have students drive them with a second student on the back, they could swap who is driving, bring the jet ski back and we could put on new students. The fear of a $10,000 machine being in the hands of a 15-year-old boy was very real. But, we decided to do it. Luckily, and with the Lord's help, we didn't have any problems. The students had a great time. So many of them had never driven a jet ski before or even been around one. When we finished at the lake we went to an AirBnB and had dinner. (There was more adventure here as well...if you're interested I'd love to tell the story but now's not the time.)

At dinner, we never prayed, I never did a devotional moment. I was adamant we didn't have worship. This wasn't because I'm ashamed of the gospel or because I feel that prayer or worship is awkward. This was a strategic, and intentional thought. I was thinking back to the stories that I've heard of when Jesus calls Peter to be his disciple. Peter ends up being one of the apostles who is a pioneer of the Church. Jesus didn't pray with Peter before calling him. He originally didn't even seem like he would be calling him to be a disciple. He simply asks to borrow his boat so that his sermon can be easier to hear. It looks like Jesus was just wanting a hand.

As Jesus finished up his sermon, he told Peter to put out to deep water and try to fish. Peter responds that they didn't catch anything that night as they were trying to fish but, he'd humor Jesus and fish anyways. The following moments in Luke 5 show Jesus provide and then call. Jesus provides such an incredible amount of fish and then asks Peter to follow him. That order is important to so many people and Christians often screw it up.

I didn't talk about Jesus, I never asked anyone if they wanted to say a prayer, or be baptized. I'm not going to do these things with a middle school trip that I have coming up. I'm not going to do any of those things at Thunder Mountain Church's first Back to School Bash with Carmichael Elementary. Why? Because these events are not for Christians. These events aren't for the purpose of spreading the gospel. These events are all to provide students with something that they want and need. For the high school trip and the middle school trip, it's to provide friendship. It's to provide common memories, it's to provide a community. Every student in America needs more of these three things. Every student needs more friends, more common memories, and more community. For the children at Carmichael, the need is much more physical. An elementary school in our community where an overwhelming majority of students are eating free and reduced lunch needs help getting school supplies. This is something that we can do and it's something that points to Jesus without ever saying His name.

My favorite quote from a historic Christian, Francis of Assisi, says this "Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words." (I've discovered he didn't actually say this, you can read a great blog from the Huffington post on this topic.) The idea behind this quote simply being, that if you behave like Jesus, you will show people Jesus. Words are not the only way that people can experience Jesus.

Will you partner with me? I want to show every child, every parent, and every staff member at an entire school who Jesus is. I want them to see that Jesus walked the streets of cities and sought out people who were crippled so that He could heal them. I want people to see that Jesus loves each of them and wants the best for them. I want people to see that Jesus held His hand out to people who were in need so that He could give. I want people to see Jesus. I can't provide supplies for an entire school, but I know that together we can.

If you want to help, email me at

To read my past blog posts, please click here! 


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