Your gift will help bring the gospel to fatherless youth!
Early one morning in November of 2007, I was reading the Bible. I had studied the book of Psalms for several months, and this morning, I read a few verses about the hurting and fatherless among us. It was as if God was speaking directly to me, and He was saying, “You need to pay attention here.” Maybe you can relate to this, but it was clear that God wanted me to do something. I had been in full-time youth ministry for twenty years, and it seemed God was saying there was something else I needed you to see. It is the mission field in your backyard. Later that morning, I decided to walk through the doors of the local juvenile detention center in Indianapolis. God revealed more to me about the needs of youth all around us who are fatherless.
Some teenage boys who were in the juvenile center, most of them were fatherless, were asking for someone to have a Bible study with them. I volunteered to start a Monday night Bible study. Over the next few months, God led me to start High Impact Ministries, and we have seen hundreds of youth accept Christ, and now they are no longer fatherless. They have a heavenly Father who guides, protects, and cares for them.
Our Christmas project is to provide gift bags to 300 or more teens in juvenile centers in Tennessee, Indiana, and Illinois. Each teen will receive a gift on Christmas with personal toiletries, a Bible, and a devotional book. Your gift will impact hundreds of youth. Your support will also help us expand our youth outreach to fatherless youth in Illinois in 2023.
Join us and make a difference in the life of a fatherless teen on this “Giving Tuesday.”
Easter is coming soon, and I’d like to share a special project you can be a part of if you feel led to do so.
We are calling our Easter outreach project “Rise Up, for Youth.” We will be delivering an Easter gift bag to youth in juvenile centers in Tennessee, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Each bag will contain a Bible, a book called The Case For Easter, a book called The Case For Christ, and some Easter candy. These books are by former “atheist turned Christian” and former legal editor for the Chicago Tribune, Lee Strobel. Both books make a powerful case for the evidence of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I know you will agree that we are in a culture war, a war between good and evil, for the heart, mind, and soul of today’s youth. And the frontline of the battle is in the heart of our fatherless youth. Every $10 given will provide a “Rise Up For Youth” gift bag with these powerful gospel tools. Our goal is a minimum of 250 youth impacted this year. We can do even more as God provides through His people. To give to this project, go to https://kenturnerministries.org/give/and select High Impact Ministries and the subfund “Rise Up.”
There’s never been a more urgent time to reach a generation of youth than now. God has given us a fruitful year of ministry in 2021, and we are excited to see the miraculous, life-changing impact of the gospel in the lives of high-risk and fatherless youth in 2022.
We are entering our 35th year of full-time youth ministry. I thank God for His blessings and His faithfulness.
We are so thankful for your friendship, prayer support, and financial partnership.
Year-end gifts made by midnight tonight will help us take the gospel message to fatherless youth in 2022! Just a few more donations will help us reach our goal for 2021. We are within $10,000 of our goal for the year.
Here’s a post I wrote a few years ago giving a snapshot into the real world of ministry to youth in juvenile detention.
The three of us had arrived early and went through the usual process of emptying our pockets and remembering to lock everything in our vehicles except our photo identification and our Bibles.
Alex is a lawyer and Ben is a retired juvenile court judge and the three of us look forward to these times when we get to spend an evening with a room full of teenage boys who are incarcerated in the Mountain View Juvenile Development Center just outside Knoxville, TN. The guards are always friendly as they go through the process of checking us through security.
We sign in, leave car keys at the desk along with our identification and clip a visitor tag onto our shirt. They escort us through a few steel doors and each one locks behind us. We get to the room where we will hold our regular youth Bible study. We set up the room by placing the plastic chairs in the shape of a large oval.
It seems like there is so much to catch up on while we are waiting for the youth to arrive escorted by guards. We use these few minutes to talk about our families, our church, work, books we are reading, and anything else on our minds.
All the while we catch ourselves looking toward the window as we see teens entering the hallway. Are there just a few coming tonight? Are there a lot of them? Are there any new faces and are our regulars all coming? The guard sticks his key in and opens the door. Yes, we’ve been locked in here for several minutes waiting on them.
Teenage boys rush into the room. Most of them have huge smiles on their faces. Rarely do any of them go straight to a chair. That’s just not how it goes. They rush up to Alex and Ben and to me and grab our hands offering a firm handshake. “Hey, it’s great to see you! How have you been? Thanks for coming tonight!” The room is energized!
Everyone grabs a Bible (Alex always brings extras) or they have their own. The room is full! We sit down and everyone shares their name and a prayer request and then we pray.
We dive right into a vibrant Bible study and I usually lead while Alex and Ben chime in with a quick testimony or an insight into the topic. It might surprise you to know, there are no discipline problems. It’s not a struggle to get anyone’s attention. It is a lively atmosphere and guys can’t wait to ask questions or share a thought.
And there are these “God moments” that occur. Moments where it feels like He just pulled up a chair and sat in our circle and spoke right into the ear of someone. This happens a lot and it’s what keeps me so excited about this ministry.
One of those moments happened recently while we were studying Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. A persecutor of Christians became a proclaimer of the gospel, basically overnight. One of the guys started to squirm and you could see that the wheels were turning in his mind. His hand shot into the air and he said, “Ken, are you telling me that God can change someone that much and He can do it that fast?” I said, “That’s exactly what I’m telling you.” He said, “That’s amazing. Because, Ken, I’m just going to be straight up with you. I’ve probably been arrested a hundred times and every time I get out I decided I’m going to do better but I always fail. I had no idea God could change someone like that and do it so quickly.”
Then, guys all over the room began to speak to him and share quick testimonies of a specific way God had transformed their lives from the inside out. It was powerful.
We had a powerful and meaningful moment of prayer as our time quickly ran out. It was obvious the Spirit of the Lord was moving. We gave the gospel and this young man didn’t accept Christ in the Bible study but he took a Bible and the plan of salvation printed in the back to his room. Pray for him to trust Christ.
Being with these guys and sharing God’s truth with them causes me to understand why James 1:27 is so powerful. Authentic faith looks like this… visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and keep unspotted from the world. 85-90% of these youth are fatherless. They need and they really want the hope and love that comes through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.Want to learn more about getting involved? Contact us.
In 2009 things were a little tough in the world of ministry, to put it mildly. We were one year into the founding of our outreach ministry and you probably remember, the economy was not good! I was working in my office in the basement of our home in Indianapolis on what was a very discouraging day. The phone rang and that changed. It was a missionary calling from Ghana, West Africa.
I answered the phone and it was Fred Kearney. We had never met. But here is what he said. “I walked into my office today here in Ghana, and a book was on my desk. It was a High Impact Teen one-year spiritual journal. I couldn’t believe it because I’ve been looking for something like this for the teens we are reaching in Africa. The youth don’t have anything like this over here. So I called the phone number on the back cover of this book to see if there is any way we can get these for our youth?”
No one knows how my High Impact Teen journal ended up in Africa, on the desk of a missionary.
We worked together and were able to ship about 100 HIT Journals to the youth.
Here is a picture of some of the youth smiling with excitement with their NEW HIT Journals a few years ago!
A few years later, Fred Kearney called again. They were hosting a youth conference for several hundred teens from cities and villages all over. We reached out to our supporters and were able to help by providing a few hundred HIT Journals.
So, now here we are with a new UPDATE TO THE STORY.
Two of the teen guys who used the HIT Journals (or as Fred Kearney says… they devoured everything in these journals) are now grown. Both of them are 25 years old and God has called them to be pastors. Both of them are planting new churches in Ghana. Fred Kearney’s parent church, Lighthouse Baptist, will now have three other churches to bring a total of four vibrant churches reaching the lost of Africa. The two newest church plants are being pastored by these two young men.
Because the High Impact Teen Journal has been such a vital part of their spiritual development as teens, they want all the youth in their churches to use it as well in order to become grounded in the Word. They are requesting 100 HIT Journals for each of the two churches, or 200 HIT Journals.
For a gift of $15, you can sponsor a teen in Ghana to be discipled by one of these young pastors with the High Impact Teen journal. Can you help sponsor one or more and invest in these youth who are hungry for the Word of God?
Let’s join hands and help Fred and Antoinette Kearney and invest in these two young pastors, Samuel and Prosper!
Check out their photos and a video below of these young pastors!
Click the DONATE button to give online.
Select High Impact Ministries, and Ghana West Africa – HIT Journal Project.
Or you can mail a gift to High Impact Teens, PO Box 1325, Dayton, TN 37321.
Your gift today will help us meet our mid-2018 goal and is an investment in the life of a fatherless teen.
Our first youth group in 1987. Metro Baptist Church, Nashville, TN. *My wife, Jennifer is in the middle row, third from left to right. =)
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1:27
Give a gift today that will change the life of a fatherless and troubled teen. As we move into the second half of 2018, we are releasing ministry training resources, online courses, and tools to equip others in ministry to fatherless. We need your help to expand our ministry to reach even more fatherless youth. You can read more specifics below.
Your best gift today, or even a matching gift pledge, will make a difference.
After twenty-one years in church youth ministry I established an outreach ministry in 2008 with a key focus on reaching troubled youth in the community of Indianapolis, Indiana. Our ministry moved to Tennessee in July 2010 and I continue to minister to high-risk and fatherless youth.