The Duncan Banner
When the young folks at Stephens County Worship Center expressed a desire for a service geared ward them, REAL was established.
“Reaching Every Aspect of Life” began in November and now occurs each week inside The Palace Theater on Main Street.
Gabriel Amaya and his wife Heather, the parents of four kids who arrived in Duncan nearly three agos, already were pastors at the church, so they assumed the role of ministering to the young people.
It was a natural progression for Gabe Amaya, who had started in the ministry as a youth pastor in California, the couple’s home state.
“If we didn’t (create REAL), the kids would go somewhere else,” he said. “Youth groups are often fun and games. We want our service to have substance and affect kids’ lives.”
At REAL, he said said the youth – grades 6 through 12 – are made to feel safe in sharing their problems and fears.
Amaya’s goal is not to fit in with the young folks, but be someone they can approach with their problems.
REAL’s tag line is “A generation of REAL passionate world changers is rising, who will call God their own and love others above themselves.”
“They have enough friends, they need a leader,” he said. “They go through what adults go through, just on a different level and (REAL) isn’t anything special, just consistent. We are there every week.”
By using “solid worship and teaching” sessions, REAL is allowing local youth to be themselves and become comfortable in a worship environment. When the student service began, about 15 youth who attended the worship center added REAL to their schedule. Now, there are close to 35 young.
Some bring friends who never went to the church, he said.
Part of the excitement stems from the music provided by Josh Guthrie, the worship minister who just released an album he gives to newcomers.
To continue growing REAL, Amaya, his wife and Guthrie have started visiting Duncan Middle School and Duncan High School.
“I don’t try to invite them or give them a sales pitch,” said Amaya. “I just talk to them. When people genuinely feel like you care about them, they respond. It’s just like church. It’s all about the people.”