By Lauren Rink | Echo
Two hours of your time per week could actively make a difference in the lives of struggling high schoolers in need of a positive influence.
The Red Barn is a youth ministry located just over one mile from the bell tower on campus. The mission of this ministry is to provide high school students with a safe place to hang out before and after school where they can be shown the love of Jesus and build healthy relationships.
The Red Barn is managed by Troy and Liz Shockey, a married couple who felt the pull to minister to adolescents in the Grant County region. The Shockeys have dedicated their lives to this ministry and spend each day pouring into it.
Students who attend The Red Barn are able to come from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. any day that the Eastbrook schools have class. The students who come are encouraged to play games, eat snacks and mingle with volunteers and other students. Those who attend have the freedom to use the time as they please and are able to leave whenever they would like.
They have never held a fundraiser or had to ask for donations. Each week, a shopping list is made and shared by email with people and churches in the community. They simply pray and trust that the Lord will provide for them, and God is always faithful in providing people to deliver the things they need each week.
The ministry began in a run-down print shop, but God proved faithful, and they were able to move to The Red Barn facility on June 6, 2005. They have been in The Red Barn for 13 years now and have enjoyed every minute of it.
Volunteers are encouraged to get to know students personally and share about the Gospel and their faith with the high school students. On Thursday nights, there are short Bible studies for students to attend.
Sometimes they do not see the direct impact of their ministry, but the Shockeys trust that the work they do is impacting the hearts of the students.
"Even if we never hear back from them, that doesn't mean we won't see them in heaven," Liz Shockey said.
The Shockey's favorite memory associated with their ministry occurred during one of their most popular events. The Red Barn ministry puts on a yearly lock-in event for students to attend. This lock-in is designed to foster an atmosphere where students can hear the Gospel and have an opportunity to choose to be saved.
One year, of the 150 students at the event, around 40 students made first time commitments to follow Christ. That year is one of the fondest memories of Troy and Liz. It is moments like that one that makes the work worth it for them.
Many of the students who attend The Red Barn have been through so many difficult things. Their number one ministry is to reach the kids and show them the love of Jesus.
"We are trying to reach the kids who wouldn't go to church anywhere," Troy Shockey said. "That's the core thing we're trying to do . . . build relationships with them so they see that
Christians are okay."
The Shockeys have endless stories of how they have seen God working in their ministry. They love seeing how lives change and how God impacts the hearts of the students who come to The Red Barn.
The Red Barn is constantly looking for college volunteers who are willing to show up and love on the students for a couple hours. Volunteers can come once per week from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. or as often as they prefer. The role of a volunteer is simply to hang out with the students and get to know them.
To get involved at The Red Barn or to learn more about their ministry, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call The Red Barn at (765) 998-7018.