Writings and thoughts of Heath D. Sizick

Welcome to Heath's Blog

Thank you for checking out my blog. The intent of me starting a blog was to centralize my writings - devotionals, articles, poetry, thoughts, etc. I pray something I say will be an encouragement to you and your faith.

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Practical Leadership: Contact Work

Contact work is, as you likely have heard many times, the very core of Young Life. Without contact work, one could argue if it is even Young Life that you are doing. Now certainly one can do contact work and not Young Life, but I dare say one cannot do Young Life without contact work.

In Young Life, contact work was the means in which our mission finds its origins. Jim Rayburn, our founder, via trial and error, with a love for teenagers, was compelled to introduce them to Jesus Christ and to help them follow him. He accomplished this by going into their world and earning the right to be heard. The beauty of Jim’s approach was how closely his methods paralleled our Lord’s.

The apostle John in the first chapter of his gospel account writes that “The true light (Jesus) that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” I love that – Jesus was coming! He was coming with light to a dark and fallen world and he was coming to all mankind. At Christmas we celebrate his coming – the incarnation. We rejoice at his coming because without Jesus becoming flesh and making his dwelling among us (John 1:14) we would still be helpless sheep trying to fix an unfixable sin problem. In Jesus coming to earth for us, we see God ‘s with the master plan for reconciling us to Him. This flawless work was rooted in contact – Creator tangibly contacting His created!

Yet there is more. Jesus not only entered our world in his birth but his public ministry starts with him doing what we in Young a Life now call contact work. Jesus was never idle and although the crowds flocked to him, he is found often going to them. He was constantly found walking and encountering people – divine appointment after divine appointment. He found Peter and Andrew, James and John, Levi (Matthew), Nathanael (Bartholomew), and from all indication every other apostle he chose. Bartimaeus, Zachaeus, and people who the Scripture give no name like the man born blind, and the man who was demon possessed were all participants and recipients of Jesus coming to them!

That is a lot of biblical background but far from exhaustive when making an argument that Young Life and contact work is simply just us trying to do what Jesus did. And that my friends is one reason why I believe the Lord has blessed the mission of Young Life for 75 years! So what are the practicals, the hints, the things that work when it comes to doing contact work?

That is a great question. There are other great questions regarding this subject. What do I do when I go into a school? How do I start a conversation? What if they ignore me? What if the kid asks me what I am doing there or what is Young Life? How do I ask a kid to hang out with me? Where do I stand at a football game? You get the idea and likely asked one if not all of those questions. I know I did! Although those are great questions, I don’t think those are the right questions to ask when preparing to do contact work. And although this is intended to be a practical blog on contact work, I believe effective contact work starts way before you ever step foot into the world of adolescents.

I believe the most effective leaders at contact work are not those who spend the most time with kids, but those who spend the most time with the Lord. It’s those who are working out their salvation daily in their quiet times. It’s those who are being still before God in order to hear from Him. It’s those who are trying to love the One who loves them the most. It’s those who read Scripture, pray, meditate, and silent in order to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. So as the school year starts and football games are right around the corner, a better question than How do I talk to kids? would be this: Are you spending intimate time with Jesus? Not just a quick devotional here and a quick prayer there, but really pursuing the One who pursues you!

When this is done then contact work, although still scary, becomes divine appointments. When you are walking faithfully with God you are Spirit-led. When you are Spirit-led you will know what hallway or lunch table to go, which kid to talk to, what you are to say, and so on. The complexity and fear of contact work becomes simple when first let Jesus do contact work with you!

When are living full-out for Jesus, His love will compel us to go to kids because it is His very nature, as mentioned earlier, to go. He will give us compassion for kids. Our hearts will hurt for them and we will want to make a difference in their lives. We will pursue hard after them. Not because Club and Camp are super fun. Not because our Area Director tells us we have to go to the school twice a week. Not because kids love us (even though they do and will). We pursue hard after kids because we spend time with Jesus; when we spend time with Jesus we look more like Jesus; when we look more like Jesus we act more like Jesus; when we act more like Jesus we become incarnational and we go like Jesus did; and when we go like Jesus did we are not only being obedient and like Him, but we live out the great commission and experience life to the full as He said we will.

Contact work – Let’s go!

That…

That Your mercies are new every morning – that’s just dumb!
But don’t get me wrong on the crude usage of my tongue.
Dumb not as folly, even though my foolery is much.
I mean dumb as incredible, amazing, immeasurable and such.

That forgiveness is available immediately, no wait.
That Your grace covers me when I am far from great.
That Your blood said to Death, “You’re done!”
And that it said to Sin, “I’m the only begotten Son.”

That Your last breathe made reconciliation complete.
That for all mankind, that meant me!
That Justice and mercy are found on a cross.
That no longer Satan, but now Jesus is my boss.

That the grave had no hold on God’s son.
That the path of life was set for me to run.
That the tomb is truly unbelievable, not just a shrine.
That it makes Jesus, God – both human and divine.

That after the resurrection he was still flesh and bone.
That it culminated with him ascending back to His throne.
That because Jesus came and accomplished this feat,
It meant the Deceiver and his cronies are beat!

That the victory is already won.
That there will be no need for the sun.
That God’s glory will be the only necessary light.
That I will finally be made right.

That there will be a new heaven, a new earth.
That I will dine with all who experienced the new birth.
That life forever with God is just dumb!
All because Jesus invited me to “come!”

Country Roads We Are Coming Home – Scotland Day 11 & 12

Here we are…the end of an incredible journey. Tomorrow we head to the airport at 9 a.m. Scotland time and arrive in Pittsburgh at 6:41 p.m. By time we get our luggage and take the long 3 hour drive home I suspect we will arrive in Elkins about 10:30 p.m. That is Day 12!

Our last full day was today. We woke up and again had a hearty breakfast compliments of Agnes, our hostess. She fattened me up! We then met up with our team in the city and dispersed to do whatever we wanted – museums, monuments, cemeteries, shopping, tours, etc. Janell, Kary Kramer, and I hung out and primarily finished shopping for our families while taking in this historic city one last time. We ate a late lunch at a restaurant called the World’s End where we had fish and chips (French fries). It was delicious! The restaurant existed when Edinburgh was a walled city and was located at the main gate! thus, when people left the city they entered the “other world” – hence the World’s End! I think it was from the 1800’s.

After fish and chips we took the bus back to The Hub for our barbecue, which was really a cookout. It was for all us plus the Scottish leaders and kids. It was fun mingling and hanging out one last time with new friends and kids we ministered to. After one final meeting and prayer we said our goodbyes and off we went!

I hoped I captured our experience here via this blog. But like many other things, one must experience things to really grasp them. I would encourage everyone to come to Edinburgh, Scotland. We fell in love with this country and their people. We only pray we can return again. We are grateful for the opportunity to not only see some if this big world, but to do so in Christ’s name and with the primary task of making Him known! What a blessing to be used for the advancement of the Gospel, especially because God doesn’t need me, but chooses to use me! We hope our children can experience trips like this in the near future. We hope to show them how important it is to live for Christ and to make sacrifices, even if it means leaving them for nearly two weeks!

We love you all and are thankful for sharing in our ministry and our lives!

His,

Heath and Janell

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