"Teen F.L.O.W. provides youth an environment in which the Gospel of Jesus Christ is used as the foundation to develop Godly and productive lives"
Teen F.L.O.W. Youth Ministry is in its 23rd year of reaching young people with the message of the Gospel and helping prepare them for a Godly and productive adulthood. Over 150 kids between the ages of 13 and 18 come through the doors of our building at 711 Main Street on a weekly basis and leave a little better than when they arrived. Along with Bible study and fellowship, they are infused with life skills, morals, and principles that will serve them all of their lives. Many are considered underserved, and our building and programs serve as a safe haven from a world full of temptations and pitfalls for young people in these times. Trips to summer camps give some their first opportunity to travel outside of Midland and experience God first-hand in a wilderness environment. Teen F.L.O.W. is sustained by the ongoing love, support and assistance of the many churches, foundations, businesses and individuals in our community.
As a Midland youth minister in the late 1990s, Jay Marquez received a challenging question from a youth group member, wanting to know why ‘outreach’ was only ever discussed, not actively practiced.
Resolving immediately to ‘walk the walk,’ members of the youth group promptly moved that evening’s gathering place to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, located on the East side of Midland. Through a volleyball game and hot dog cookout, the group was able to engage in conversation, activities, a meal, and group prayer with a number of young gang members. In time, recognizing the evidence of God at work in the lives of their new friends, some of the (now former) gang members began to develop their own personal relationships with Christ and live in discipleship.
This impactful experience inspired the establishment of Teen F.L.O.W. in 2000. As Jay and his wife, Marie Marquez, developed the organization and ministered to its youth over a 15-year period, they have repeatedly witnessed the personal growth, community involvement, and spiritual empowerment of young people in the Permian Basin region.
In the summer of 1995 when Marie and Jay were asked to help out with a youth activity and accompany them to a youth camp for a week and be the youth counselors. After spending five days with over five hundred youth, Jay felt and heard the calling on his life, and the two have been working with youth ever since. A special friend invited Jay to Dallas for a seminar. Through this, he came to understand what it actually meant to reach out. Jay took the time to really look into what he would be doing. Jay and Marie began in a park with the help of five youth, some hot dogs and a volleyball net. Much to their surprise, there were teens who were interested but didn’t have the slightest idea of what was going on, much less what a church or youth group was. The “outreach ministry” began to grow and one of the youth and her family opened their home to the group for discipleship. The group gathered every Monday and Wednesday until it started to get hard on Jay and Marie’s business. At this time they had to come to a decision as to whether they would tend to business or go into the ministry full time. From that decision Teen F.L.O.W. (Faithful Leaders of the Word) was born and has grown to include a solid core of dedicated volunteers that have ministered to thousands of teenagers. Including the “at-risk” and the less fortunate youth of Midland and surrounding areas. Teen F.L.O.W. volunteers provide meals, Bible studies, and fun in an environment of “entertain then educate” in which teens can relate to with an atmosphere of love and compassion for them and their future.