Raving for Jesus
Bible in hand, the new girl at church catches a boy’s attention as the youth group sings “You Are Holy.”
Before long, girl and boy are dating, kissing — and cuddling on a bed under the pretense of watching a movie.
Such is the frank opening scene in a video by RAVE Ministries, a ministry led by two young adult women and five teenage girls in the Nashville area.
“A lot of people are really scared to talk about the real issues that are going on in high school and at home, and there’s a lot of brokenness,” said RAVE team member Lauren King, 17.
“We try to be really different from other ministries in the fact that we’re going to speak the truth,” the high school senior said in an interview on the Lipscomb University campus. “We’re going to speak what the Bible says to them in a very different, cool way that will keep teenagers’ attention.”
RAVE, described as “a ministry created by teenage girls for teenage girls,” tackles subjects such as sexual purity, self-image and gossip in ways designed to appeal to the younger generation.
“We want to RAVE about what Jesus has done for us, and we want to live a life worth raving about,” the team proclaims at www.raveministries.org.
Team members, all with Church of Christ backgrounds, include adult leaders Becca Daniel and Janna Beth Hunt, both 28, along with King; Becca Carden, 18; Chaslynn McAvoy, 19; Heather Saunders, 19; and Chelsea Stevens, 20. Daniel and King are sisters. RAVE expects to add a few new members soon.
The ministry combines DVD presentations, an online curriculum, in-person dramatic presentations and a Facebook-like community for girls and mentors on the RAVE website.
“What’s really neat about the website is when you look at our discussion questions,” said Hunt, a second-grade teacher and graduate of Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn. “It’s more than just the seven (team members) and their responses to these questions. It’s other girls around the country helping other girls. It’s like a community of teenage girls that we’re trying to create.”
Too often, in Daniel’s view, the church has told girls, “Don’t.”
“Don’t have sex before marriage.” “Don’t get drunk.” “Don’t do drugs.”
“Finally, teenagers are like, ‘What can we do?’” said Daniel, who hangs out with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Fenley, 3, when she’s not organizing RAVE events.
Through its videos and dramas, RAVE is not shy about answering that question.
“You know, what you can do is love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” Daniel said. “And what does that look like in everyday life? Well, it looks like this: Going to the pool and laying out with your friends and not talking about your friends in a bad way.
“What does it look like? It looks like going out to dinner with your boyfriend, but keeping it pure when you’re in the car and riding to the movie.”
Since RAVE Ministries’ founding a year ago, team members have gained a following with appearances at events such as Winterfest, Lipscomb’s IMPACT and various retreats and girls’ days.
Dudley Chancey, Winterfest director and youth ministry professor at Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City, helped organize RAVE as a nonprofit 501c3 organization and serves on its board.
Chancey knew Daniel and King through their father, Russ King, a former youth minister who preaches for the Rural Hill Church of Christ in Antioch, Tenn., south of Nashville.
“RAVE Ministries comes alongside parents and churches to provide encouragement and education/information to teen girls about courageously living out the Christian lifestyle (Ephesians 4:11-13),” Chancey said in an e-mail. “RAVE is relevant. RAVE is encouraging. RAVE rocks!!!”
RAVE team members see a potential for the ministry’s online materials to fill a niche in small congregations where no one might feel qualified to address the issues teen girls face.
Even in larger churches, RAVE’s expertise might benefit an unmarried youth minister, team members said.
As Hunt, whose husband, Ryan, helps with RAVE’s website, described it, “I’m sorry, but men just really don’t know what it’s like to be a girl, especially not a teenage girl.”
RAVE’s first DVD features three videos: “The Line” (on sexual purity); “ily bff” (on gossip); and “Red Dress” (on self-image).
In the first video, a discussion of the Bible’s teachings on sex follows the dramatic opening scene. Daniel narrates the presentation and refers to specific Scriptures as she addresses the question of what constitutes “sex.”
She sympathizes with those who have fallen short of God’s ideal — and stresses his forgiving nature — but makes clear that Christians must avoid even the hint of sexual misconduct.
“Fooling around is not OK,” Daniel says, as she confronts issues such as pure thoughts, proper flirting and modest dress.
“This whole ‘not having sex’ thing is not just about not having sex,” she concludes. “It is about a pure and holy life.”
FeedbackHere’s a link to their Web site: http://raveministries.org/Bobby Ross Jr.EdmondOkahoma City, OK
USAAugust, 17 2010where do you buy these dvd’s? what is their website.
Thank You!nina j strahmeastside church of christterre haute, indiana 47803
USAAugust, 14 2010