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Forging Ahead With Purpose

Teenager finds a ministry calling in serving the homeless.

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of 20 PE News articles on 20 people in the Assemblies of God under the age of 20 who are making an impact in their communities. 

Not too many founders of nonprofit organizations need a parent’s signature to get their mission registered, but Dalton Forge didn’t want to wait until age 18. In fact, he was just 14 when he and his closest friends decided to reach out at Christmas to homeless people in Kansas City, Missouri, prompting a vision he’s been faithful to for the past three years.

“For a long time, I felt God leading me to do something with the theme of ‘People for Change,’ but I didn’t know what that was going to be,” Dalton says. Clarity came after the first experience of outreach, when the teens bought 150 Subway sandwiches — and made 50 extra ones themselves — and took them down to the main downtown bus station to give to those in need.

The experience proved to be the catalyst for further ministry.

“We decided to name our project People for Change,” Dalton says. “I’ve been really blessed by that.”

The boys decided to do a similar outreach two months later in February 2014, never anticipating that as word got out about their good deed the project would grow rapidly.

“Hundreds of people were trying to contact me, saying, ‘We have clothes and food. We want to help you out,’ ” Dalton recalls. “We got as much as we needed and took about 25 more people with us to serve.”

Today, People for Change is a registered nonprofit that has served an estimated 4,000 people. In addition, around two dozen individuals have made a salvation commitment as a result of interaction with a group member.

“Our main goal is just reaching people for Christ, one by one,” says Dalton, now 17. “We want to plant seeds and watch them grow.”

Brandon N. Smith, youth pastor at New Life Church in Oak Grove, Missouri, says Dalton impressed him initially as someone who had a level head and could make good decisions. Smith says that People for Change has made a positive impact in the targeted area.

“Whenever they go down there, some of the people come back to see them and relationships are being built,” says the youth pastor at the Assemblies of God church.

Dalton started attending New Life in 2013 and quickly got involved with the worship team, as a children’s ministry volunteer, and in serving in the church in other ways. He feels called into missions — he joined Smith on a trip to Haiti in July — and is studying to be a pastor, but he isn’t sure of long-term ministry plans.

“God has given this young man a passion not only for Him, but also for his Father’s people,” Smith says. “His compassion for people has forced him to move and he’s been consistent, not growing weary in what he’s doing.”

Ann-Margret Hovsepian

Ann-Margret Hovsepian is a freelance writer and illustrator based in Montreal, Quebec, and the author of several devotional books.