“Empower” is a tricky word. As it speaks to power moving from one person to another, it can signify status or worth, depending on whether you are doing the empowering or the one being empowered.

When it comes from God, however, we all need some empowering. We see in these pages that the gospel does exactly that. It empowers. Two-thousand years ago, the gospel empowered a group of ordinary men and women to share the news that Jesus had risen from the dead.

In Acts 4, as Peter and John went before the Sanhedrin, the ruling council and the wisest and most powerful men in Jerusalem were shocked at the courage these men had. They took note that these men had been with Jesus.

Jesus empowers those who spend time with Him. In these pages, you’ll see a young woman in Liberia who found her voice by being with Jesus. You’ll see how young people who are deaf do not see themselves as having a disability, but rather see language barriers. And breaking down language barriers is something the Spirit has done for millennia — to share the gospel and its power.

You’ll also see how, after a time of shutdown during the pandemic, our camping ministry is rebounding. It provides a solution to so much of what young people are looking for: Relationships. Adventure. Fun. And a chance to spend time with Jesus.

God’s Spirit seems to always work through a small group of people to bless and proclaim His work to a larger group. In the story of the early church God’s Spirit works through a small group of people to bless and proclaim His power to the whole world. In many ways, this edition of The Relationships Journal is born out of those early chapters in Acts, when Jesus charged the disciples to be witnesses. These same disciples saw the Spirit overcoming language barriers and empowering them to speak boldly for God.

As you read these pages, know: God’s movement in the early church is still happening today. It’s happening in the lives of young people around the world, from Liberia to Bulgaria to camps in the U.S. this summer. And you are a vital part of what God is doing. Your commitment and sacrifice for kids — through God’s empowerment — is continuing to change history.

Thank you. I hope through these stories you see how our Father uses all of our gifts to reveal His power on this earth.


Newt Crenshaw


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