September 2019 – Brian “The Hurricane” Jackson could lift a car off the ground with only his breath by inflating a balloon placed underneath the car. Apart from 11 Guinness World Records and appearing on Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Jackson used his unique strength to minister through USA Youth Outreach.
So often, youth in today’s world are bombarded with bad news. The negativity in the culture, especially in the news media, can aptly be described as epidemic. One cannot turn on the TV or scroll through a news feed without encountering negativity, failure, backlash, or hurt from somewhere in the world. The culture seems to have an appetite for bad news.
Fortunately, groups such as USA Youth Outreach are active on the student scene.
Founded in 1974 as a division of Christian Action Group, USAYO has great impact on junior high, high school, and college students. Through rallies, assemblies, and outreaches, USAYO speakers reach the hearts and minds of America’s youth with one simple message – the gospel.
“The good news of Jesus Christ is eternal life,” said Scott Carter, Southeast regional director for USAYO. “It’s a message of true hope. The world’s message is a false hope. The world says you can be fulfilled if you have a whole bunch of stuff, if you’re famous.
“A lot of our USAYO guys can speak to that because they have done what the world says you need to do to be happy and fulfilled and successful. And all those things left them empty.”
One significant way USAYO impacts youth in America is through sports. All of the staff and speakers with USAYO are former college or professional athletes, or former college coaches. Many of them are athletes in traditional sports such as football, basketball,
USAYO representatives travel all over the nation telling their stories and inspiring youth from assembly halls to locker rooms. On occasion, some, including Carter, share with professional sports teams.
It is common for USAYO to partner with other ministries such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes, InterVarsity, Youth for Christ, Young Life, Jesus Film, and Back to the Bible. These partnerships, exemplary of the body of Christ working together, give even more students greater opportunities to enter into a real conversation about life and the world they live in.
As a former coach and youth pastor, Carter knows what young people in today’s society are experiencing on a daily basis, and what they sorely need.
“They want you to be real and relevant,” said Carter. “It’s really my favorite place to do ministry because you can get so real with these guys and get so intimate. And God can do some awesome things.”
A powerful discipleship tool
The ministry of USAYO does not stop with campus events. The organization has developed an app simply called “USAYO.” It is a tool for discipleship that can help youth get in God’s Word even after the school event is over.
The app is free and confidential, and it provides an opportunity for further discipleship and study of Scripture, sending users three Bible verses each day. Users take a confidential survey that helps develop a picture of the user’s strengths and weaknesses. The daily verses are then chosen to fit the areas of life in which the user needs help or encouragement.
“It’s a powerful tool,” said Carter. “It’s making a difference and changing people’s behavior.”
Through the app and its inspiring in-person talks, USAYO continues spreading the gospel through schools all over the nation, impacting youth with the truth and hope found only in Jesus Christ.
To learn more, visit usayo.org or call 877- 782-9212.