Kate Goehringer works for Young Life Capernaum, Young Life’s ministry to teens with disabilities. She has agreed to share about this ministry and some ways we can pray and get involved.

I grew up in Hershey, PA – the Sweetest Place on Earth! It didn’t take long after getting involved with Young Life in my high school before I realized that Young Life would be a part of my life forever. I volunteered as a Young Life Leader during my time at Messiah College and I accepted a teaching job in Carlisle, PA so that I could continue volunteering at the high school. However, as time went on, I had a growing desire to take a position in full-time ministry.

After considering a number of options, I felt called to accept a position with Young Life Capernaum. Having never worked with students with disabilities, this seemed daunting to say the least; however, God’s calling for me to step out in faith was clear. In fall 2013 I moved to Baltimore and began working for Young Life Capernaum.

For those that don’t know, Young Life is a non-profit outreach organization that seeks to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith. We present the Gospel to high school students through outreach meetings (club), bible studies (campaigners) and most importantly, relationships. The most valuable asset is our volunteer leaders, who have committed themselves to Jesus and to spreading his Gospel to high school students. Young Life Capernaum’s mission is the same, but the approach to relationships with kids and the structure of club meetings is slightly different given the disability factor.

We believe that just like every other high school student, those with disabilities are thirsty to discover their identity (who am I?), autonomy (does my life matter?) and belonging (where do I fit in?). Just like thousands of other high school students, our friends with disabilities are running to all the wrong places to find the answers to these questions. Our prayer is to provide hope and truth to our friends by sharing the message that they are created by a God who desires and deeply loves them.

While we do spend the majority of our ministerial efforts pouring into kids with disabilities, Young Life Capernaum is also a ministry to families. We live in a broken world where the divorce rate of parents of kids with disabilities is over 80 percent. The magnitude of that number should make us all shudder. The families of most of our friends are broken and hurting just as much, if not more, than they are. Our Capernaum leaders not only build relationships with our kids but with their parents and siblings as well. Many of our parents hear and experience the Gospel more clearly than ever through the relationships they have formed with our volunteer leaders.

Not long after moving to Baltimore, I met my husband, Ty. We got married in March of this year, and currently God is teaching us the joys and hardships of doing life and ministry alongside each other. These past two years have certainly not been easy, but the Lord has blessed them immensely. I am so grateful to be a part of what God is doing through the ministry of Capernaum here in Baltimore.

We would love prayer for several big things.

  1. Praise God with us that the number of families we are impacting has almost doubled since last year.
  2. Pray for financial stability. Currently, our monthly revenue is less than half of our monthly expenses.
  3. Pray that God lifts up and provides new leaders for our team who are excited about the vision of reaching kids with disabilities!
  4. Pray for our summer camp trip to Rockbridge, VA (Aug 9-13). Pray that we will have enough volunteers attend our trip and enough financial resources to assist our families who are in need of support. Pray that the Gospel will be communicated clearly and effectively and that many of our friends might walk away having started a relationship with Jesus for the first time!

If you’re interested in getting involved with Young Life Capernaum, consider one of the following:

  1. Committee: We are in need of adults who would be willing to join our committee. This would include attending a committee meeting once a month and assisting with big events, such as the annual fundraising banquet.
  2. Volunteer Buddy: At each of our clubs we need between 10 and 20 volunteer helpers who will attend, help set up and tear down and help our friends with simple tasks.
  3. Financial Support: Our greatest need right now is to bridge the gap between our monthly revenue and expenses. Currently we have approximately $2,000 in revenue coming in each month, while our monthly expenses are around $4,000. We are in great need of new donors who feel called to support our mission by giving monthly to help us account for this gap.

We’re also hosting our annual fundraiser, Capernaum’s Got Talent, on Friday, May 22. Cost of attendance is $10 and directly pays for kids’ camp fees. If you’d like to volunteer, fill out this form.

To learn more or get involved, feel free to email me at Kaitlyngoehringer@gmail.com.