The secular culture will have you believe that today's youth are leaving the church in droves and running away from Jesus. But Mike Fehlauer, lead pastor of New Life Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, has quite a different story to tell.
Instead of rejecting and running away from Jesus, Fehlauer says students and young people are running to the cross and to the Bible because they are tired of what this world has to offer. They are hungry for more—hungry for a life and truth that only Jesus can provide for them.
His evidence? A huge group of high school and middle school students gathered around the flagpole at West Oso High School in Corpus Christi on Wednesday, some of whom received salvation and some of whom were baptized in the Holy Ghost. In addition, three weeks ago, a large group of college students at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi on two separate nights experienced a great move of God as well. Many spoke in tongues after receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, while others received Jesus into their lives for the very first time.
So don't tell Fehlauer that the youth of America have turned their back on Jesus. He isn't buying it. And while COVID-19 might have accelerated the enemy's plans to destroy our youth, this pastor says it only hastened God's plan against the enemy.
"I think that with our young people and our young adults at New Life and in Corpus Christi itself, the door that COVID opened was only the tip of the spear," Fehlauer says. "It was intended by the enemy to open a door for him—for death, suicides, drugs, etc.—and it did open a door of hell over our kids. I don't think that adults fully realize the all-out assault our kids are experiencing right now. A spirit was unleashed upon them, a demonic spirit that wants to destroy them. Cutting, depression, anxiety, fear—you see it all.
"But I will say this," he adds. "The principals here, the teachers and others—they've been great about this. Our kids are hungry, and they are looking for a life of truth. We are seeing them run with outstretched arms to the cross. They are hurting, and they are looking for a life of redemption and finding it with the Lord. Students are sharing with students, and it's amazing. We are seeing young people on fire for the Lord."
New Life staffers and congregation members have been visiting area high schools, and the enthusiasm for Jesus is growing. In addition to the flagpole gatherings—which happen before school (Felhauer says it is legal for students to gather at the flagpole then)—Bible clubs are popping up at schools in the Corpus Christi area. Felhauer says Bible clubs in 10 different schools have been established recently, and New Life Church youth pastor Mario Carrete has had a big part in overseeing that.
Carrete's wife, Paige, spoke up during Wednesday morning's flagpole gathering and told students if they needed prayer, people were there to pray with them; and if they needed Jesus, people were there to help them receive Him.
"There were little clusters of students praying, spontaneous salvations. It was a very powerful moment," Fehlauer says. "I had never seen anything like it. Kids were running to the flagpole to pray. They didn't want to miss it. Groups of jocks and athletes running to the flagpole—it was so cool to see. The Holy Spirit broke out big time."
Three weeks ago, on the campus of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, a student-led group gathered for what Fehlauer says was an "outpouring" of Christ. In the public square at Hector P. Garcia Plaza, armed with only an acoustic guitar and their voices, 100 students assembled for a session of worship, Bible teaching and testimonies.
On a chilly night, seven college students gave their lives over to the Lord, he says. Two nights later, 200 people gathered again in the plaza, giving testimonies of instantaneous healings and changes in their lives since they accepted Jesus. Fehlauer was present, but only as an observer and supporter of the youth.
"They ended up baptizing 18 in the fountain there that night. Amazing," he says.
But then this is nothing new for Fehlauer, and nothing new for his church. Since 2018, New Life Church has experienced a huge ongoing revival. From August 2018 to December 2018, Fehlauer says the church performed 1,000 baptisms. Last year saw another 500 baptisms, and 18 were baptized in last Sunday's service.
"To be honest, we have enjoyed a great spirit of revival here," Fehlauer says. "It's been impacting our youth and our church. But the last couple of months has certainly caught us off guard. It's been an accelerated moment with our younger generation. These young people are doing it. They are creating their own pulpit everywhere they go, and it's incredible."
Listen to this edition of the Strang Report to get the full update on what is happening in the South Texas area. Subscribe to the Strang Report on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast platform for more stories that will inspire you in the power of the Holy Spirit.
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