By MaryBeth McCandless Just tell a room full of inner city youth that they are fearfully and wonderfully made in God's image and you could experience the same thing Ginger Sinsabaugh MacDonald does when she speaks to inner city teens in Chicago: a room so quiet that you could hear a Dorito drop. The teens in most inner city schools haven't heard anyone tell them that they have value. Hearing that the God of the universe values them has the potential to inspire them to silence. Teens so hungry for something outside of their “normal” – these are the teens who inspired the creation of TastyFaith. And while you may not be dealing with the “same” youth in terms of your ministry setting or the size of your town, you are dealing with teens who need to know they have value. TastyFaith can help you do that.
Urban/inner city teens are the trend setters in teen society as far as advertisers (and most likely the kids in your youth group) are concerned. Wouldn't it be amazing to see those inner city/urban kids on fire for Christ?
Motivated by the potential of igniting that kind of passion and annoyed that “the average dog food commercial was more memorable than the typical Sunday sermon,” Ginger Sinsabaugh MacDonald created TastyFaith resources “to help urban youth leaders create a craving for Christ with high-risk and disadvantaged city youth.”
As an advertiser by trade and a volunteer youth worker by vocation, Ginger was frustrated that Sprite, Nike, and MTV took urban teens more seriously than many Christian publishers. She sorta left full time advertising to develop resources that would be useful and accessible to youth workers in an urban ministry setting.
When asked, “What's a white girl from Southwestern Michigan doing working with urban youth and youth workers?” Ginger laughed and said her main target with the materials for urban youth on TastyFaith is “the white kid with a big heart who went to Moody and now has a youth ministry position in the inner city.” There are lots of youth workers out there who have been called to inner city or urban youth ministries right out of Bible College or seminary – TastyFaith is designed to give them insight into their mission field.
Having come from a decidedly non-urban upbringing, Ginger was drawn to this ministry through mission work she did in urban areas in the United Kingdom. Once back in the United States she found herself in advertising in Chicago and connected with churches experiencing the same struggles here that she had seen in her mission work. She realized that few of the existing resources for youth were geared toward urban ministry and TastyFaith was born.
The primary goal of TastyFaith resources is to relate biblical truths to the reality urban youth face in their lower economic communities. The secondary goal is to reinforce reading and writing skills with city youth. As Ginger points out, what good is teaching them about the Bible if you aren't teaching them how to read it?
Ginger emphasizes the importance of dealing with problems that go beyond “minority” problems – fatherless homes, teen moms, no electricity, literacy, etc. These issues are really universal – they are just more obvious in the inner city because the population is so concentrated. TastyFaith makes an effort to deal with these broader concerns and as a result most of the resources are adaptable to other youth ministry settings. The TastyFaith website is also a tremendous tool to consider when planning a mission trip that will take your small town kids into the inner city.
Developing TastyFaith has made Ginger feel a little like Noah – TastyFaith is her ark. Take a look at the TastyFaith website and find out what resources you might be able to use in your ministry setting. There is more thought provoking material on the TastyFaith's home page than on some resource ministry's whole sites. One of the exciting new curriculum pieces available through TastyFaith is “Another Boy from the Hood” (just released.) For some short motivational reading try working your way through the leftovers, and, just for fun, check out Fantasy Bible Foosball.