An Intercultural Take On Youth Ministry – An Interview With Kristen (Part 1)

I got to interview Kristen René Rupert, a young leader, musician and missionary. Kristen is in youth ministry and has been for a while now. She is from the United States but is serving as missionary with Youth for Christ Cape Town, in South Africa. She sheds light on her experience in youth ministry in the U.S. context and where she is now.

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(Stay tuned for the next interview with Kristen, as she shares her journey into youth ministry and the mission field, the do & donts and much more)

Have any questions for Kristen? Any other comments?

Author: Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

17 thoughts on “An Intercultural Take On Youth Ministry – An Interview With Kristen (Part 1)”

  1. I would like to hear Kristen’s perspective on how she feels this missionary experience has, perhaps in an unexpected way, altered the course or direction for her life forever. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Ken! Well, you know that
      we always go into life with expectations. Even when we try our hardest to shake
      them, they still creep up on us. I entered this journey with much anticipation
      and expectation. I had already mapped out what my ministry would look like
      here, and decided that by the end of this experience, I would know exactly what
      I’m supposed to do with my life. Boy was I ridiculous. I wouldn’t say I was all
      “wrong,” but at times I feel that God probably looks at my actions and
      chuckles a little.

       

      The truth is, this experience has pushed me to be
      more open to the unknowns. American culture hates things we can’t explain,
      predict or understand. We like to plan, organize and control. Everything about
      my experience here has allowed for a new freedom to just “be.” A new
      freedom to just be faithful and trust, and take each day for what it is: a day.
      Not looking 6 months into the future and trying to plan that day. This is a
      lesson I would have never learned until I stepped out of my bubble and left
      everything I knew behind. To be uncomfortable for once, so that I would have to
      depend on God and the people he puts in my life.

       

      The youth and people that I interact with here in
      South Africa need me to be present today. My worries about tomorrow are
      not their concern. If my heart and mind are not here right now, then what good
      am I to them? What good am I to God or to those relationships? It is not in our
      human nature to think and feel by the day, so I obviously have to surrender
      more of my life to Christ; which is something I never fully did while back in
      the states. I just continued to believe that I could ride the fence: surrender
      a little bit of myself. But here I have no choice. Dependency on Christ is
      necessary and glorious.

       

      I also have a completely new perspective on life
      and cultures. I was very sheltered by not only an individualistic society, but
      also by my own provincial outlook. My eyes have been open to so many beautiful
      differences and ideas. My heart will never be the same after interacting with a
      15 year old girl who is taking care or her younger siblings and her own child,
      while her father is absent and her mother is a drug addict. My heart will never
      be the same after holding the hand of a young boy whose mother refuses to hug
      him, because she thinks he’s a mistake. I will never be the same after seeing
      people live without anything and seem to have everything: joy, love, peace,
      provision “enough.” Enough: it’s such a relative term and it now has a whole
      new meaning for me.

       

      As for the course of my life: I will always leave
      a piece of my heart here in South Africa. I will never be able to forget or let
      go. Now I don’t know if that means I will be back or I will work more than 6
      months, but all I know is this place has changed me inside and out. I will
      always be involved in mission work. I know that now for certain. And I will
      never be able to just sit by and not act. In light of this, I might find myself
      in full-time ministry or mission work. But again, I will wait for God’s urging
      rather than begin to plan and force things. And now I feel more ready than ever
      to pick up my cross, whatever that may be.

       

      I hope this makes sense! Thanks again for your
      feedback J  

      1. Wow Kristen! Thanks for sharing… What a challenge… In essence, I like how you talk about how your understanding of what it means to be wholly surrendered!   

    2. Sorry for the spacing of my message, it turned out very oddly. Hope you can still make sense of it. Also, that last random J was actually supposed to be a smiley… so here it is: :)

  2. I would like to hear Kristen’s perspective on how she feels this missionary experience has, perhaps in an unexpected way, altered the course or direction for her life forever. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Ken! Well, you know that
      we always go into life with expectations. Even when we try our hardest to shake
      them, they still creep up on us. I entered this journey with much anticipation
      and expectation. I had already mapped out what my ministry would look like
      here, and decided that by the end of this experience, I would know exactly what
      I’m supposed to do with my life. Boy was I ridiculous. I wouldn’t say I was all
      “wrong,” but at times I feel that God probably looks at my actions and
      chuckles a little.

       

      The truth is, this experience has pushed me to be
      more open to the unknowns. American culture hates things we can’t explain,
      predict or understand. We like to plan, organize and control. Everything about
      my experience here has allowed for a new freedom to just “be.” A new
      freedom to just be faithful and trust, and take each day for what it is: a day.
      Not looking 6 months into the future and trying to plan that day. This is a
      lesson I would have never learned until I stepped out of my bubble and left
      everything I knew behind. To be uncomfortable for once, so that I would have to
      depend on God and the people he puts in my life.

       

      The youth and people that I interact with here in
      South Africa need me to be present today. My worries about tomorrow are
      not their concern. If my heart and mind are not here right now, then what good
      am I to them? What good am I to God or to those relationships? It is not in our
      human nature to think and feel by the day, so I obviously have to surrender
      more of my life to Christ; which is something I never fully did while back in
      the states. I just continued to believe that I could ride the fence: surrender
      a little bit of myself. But here I have no choice. Dependency on Christ is
      necessary and glorious.

       

      I also have a completely new perspective on life
      and cultures. I was very sheltered by not only an individualistic society, but
      also by my own provincial outlook. My eyes have been open to so many beautiful
      differences and ideas. My heart will never be the same after interacting with a
      15 year old girl who is taking care or her younger siblings and her own child,
      while her father is absent and her mother is a drug addict. My heart will never
      be the same after holding the hand of a young boy whose mother refuses to hug
      him, because she thinks he’s a mistake. I will never be the same after seeing
      people live without anything and seem to have everything: joy, love, peace,
      provision “enough.” Enough: it’s such a relative term and it now has a whole
      new meaning for me.

       

      As for the course of my life: I will always leave
      a piece of my heart here in South Africa. I will never be able to forget or let
      go. Now I don’t know if that means I will be back or I will work more than 6
      months, but all I know is this place has changed me inside and out. I will
      always be involved in mission work. I know that now for certain. And I will
      never be able to just sit by and not act. In light of this, I might find myself
      in full-time ministry or mission work. But again, I will wait for God’s urging
      rather than begin to plan and force things. And now I feel more ready than ever
      to pick up my cross, whatever that may be.

       

      I hope this makes sense! Thanks again for your
      feedback J  

      1. Wow Kristen! Thanks for sharing… What a challenge… In essence, I like how you talk about how your understanding of what it means to be wholly surrendered!   

    2. Sorry for the spacing of my message, it turned out very oddly. Hope you can still make sense of it. Also, that last random J was actually supposed to be a smiley… so here it is: :)

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