Dan Wolgemuth, President of Youth for Christ, Encourages Leaders and Development Teams to “Rise Up and Run Toward Hope”
At the 2018 Brewer Direct Institute, keynote speaker Dan Wolgemuth used the example of Peter’s denial and subsequent redemption as a reminder not to cling to brokenness, but to run toward hope.
“In the leadership roles you play, it’s easy to cling to the brokenness of the people you serve and do whatever you can to rescue them. But we need to cling to Jesus and use His power to raise them to their feet, not our own… it is clinging to Jesus that changes everything and allows us to do the impossible.”
In his keynote session at this year’s Brewer Direct Institute, “Navigating toward the Impossible,” Dan Wolgemuth spoke to the challenges of ministering to hurting populations – how easy it is to try to minister to that brokenness ourselves instead of letting Jesus’ love transform the brokenness.
As the President of Youth for Christ since 2005, Wolgemuth knows something about ministering to hurting populations. Last year, YFC served 65,000 teens (ages 11-19) and hopes to serve even more – 1 million teens in the next five years. It’s a huge goal, but as Wolgemuth himself said, “The extent that our dreams and goals align with the message of Jesus is the extent that He will take the impossible and make it possible.”
As he spoke, he used the Scriptural example of Peter, who reflects both great failure through his denial of Christ, and incredible redemption through how he’s transformed through his failure.
“Peter was overconfident and made the promise that he would never abandon Jesus. He basically said, ‘I got this.’ And we all know how that story ends,” Wolgemuth said. “We often feel self-assured when we can say to our Board of Directors, our guests, our community, ‘I got this.’ But unless we’re empowered by God, we don’t got it.”
According to Wolgemuth, desperation is a vehicle that allows God in, both in Peter’s experience and as he’s seen happen time and again through Youth for Christ. “We go to an area where there’s a lot of issues… and the desperation often gives us an opportunity to step in and intercede.”
In Peter’s case, Wolgemuth noted how once he had denied Jesus, Peter wept over his own inadequacy and brokenness… that he wasn’t good enough on his own. “If you begin to believe your own press – that success has everything to do with you and your own work – then look at Peter to be reminded that it’s through brokenness that you’re made strong.”
Wolgemuth pointed out that Peter’s brokenness and despair after his denial led him to run to Jesus’ tomb when he heard it was empty. “Brokenness and despair are so hungry for hope,” he says. “Peter ran toward hope… the moment you hear hope, you should rise and run to it. God can do extraordinary things with that sliver of hope.”
He left his audience with the final exhortation to love Jesus and through that love, watch as the impossible becomes possible. “Grace gives us the compass to navigate toward the impossible… and when we love outrageously, recklessly like Jesus, we’ll see amazing transformations begin to happen because of that love.”
Learn more about Dan Wolgemuth, his blog, Friday Fragments, and the ministry of Youth for Christ by clicking here.
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