What Motivates a Youth to Change?

In Youth Guidance (YG) Ministry, we are often confronted with an inadvertent lack of focus, empathy and self-control among youths-at-risk. It is a common feedback when social workers and counsellors first refer them to us.

Some years ago, we met ‘NL’ in a children shelter home. He was witty and sporty, displaying good ball control in soccer. He exhibited behavioural issues and we soon lost contact with him. Fast-forward to 2019. Of all places, we reconnected with him when YG conducted an experiential learning series in a drug rehabilitation centre where he is a resident. He appeared ecstatic when he first spotted us. However, he expressed regret that over the years, he had turned to and was caught for drugs.

It is common to see youths channelled from one rehabilitation centre to another, with a more severe offence each time. It saddens us.

Yet this issue presents both a challenge and an opportunity to bring youths-at-risk to the Lord Jesus.

Our Lord went through towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness (Matthew 9:35–36). He entered their world and demonstrated His compassion. He paid attention to them, understood their need and knew well they were lost in life’s direction. He mingled among the destitute, experiencing the plight of His people.

Pray along with us that we can model our Lord Jesus’ ministry by seeing ourselves as God’s instrument in making meaningful experiences with these youths. We aim to reconstruct the foundational self-worth and values of a person, which eventually lead to motivation to make positive changes. At the same time, we impart life skills to handle their felt needs while concurrently pointing them to the ultimate Redeemer with the gospel truth.

Laurent Tan, YG Ministry Coordinator