Whatever Happened…

Sorry I have only been throwing in short little posts about trivial things. I have been working almost non-stop on a new RPG session for tomorrow. One of my youth is inviting some of his friends (between 3-6) to come to the church for an afternoon of paper and pencil role playing. I have been working on a campaign that is both fun and points them towards God. Of course the most important thing is that it is a chance for me to hand out with these non-churched guys in an informal setting for a few hours. That to me is worth a whole lot of hours of work. The cool thing is that we are also having this at the church so hopefully it will help them to feel more comfortable about coming.

So that has been taking up most of my time lately. In the middle of that I end up in a meeting tonight where I am fussed out for having Jell-O fights and not setting up the fellowship hall (where we meet for our Wednesday night meeting) to look like a fellowship hall, (whatever that means.)

So here I am killing myself to use whatever means necessary to “become all things to all men” so that I can reach a few more students in this town and I get blindsided with complaints about the way I use the fellowship hall. Of course this space is space that I was forced into because other people wanted to use the sanctuary (where we were for a year) but I apparently don’t have enough respect for the space. Now understand that there isn’t a single spot on the wall or floor from us, (there may be a small red spot on the ceiling). Understand that this is a place where we have church dinners and 3 year olds are allowed to eat there, but for some reason the youth should act like they are in a hospital in the place.

I am at a loss for word at this whole thing. I am killing myself trying to find new ways to reach out to the community and to bring in new students and all that they can see is the way the chairs are set up every week. And it isn’t like we aren’t reaching students. We have around 30 students every week (we had more before we were forced to start meeting at 6:00, but that is another story) We are doing what we can to reach out into our community, but apparently that sort of thing isn’t as important as keeping the church looking pretty.

Just once I want someone to come to me with a problem and them be upset not because we threw Jell-O and a seventh grader found out that church can be fun and wanted to come back. I want someone to come to me all up in arms because there are 500 students in this town who don’t go to church anywhere and something has to be done to reach them. Just once I want someone to come to me and say, “I don’t care what you have to do, just do what you can to reach these teenagers.”

I don’t know how to tell the church this, but I would burn the place down if I thought it would help me reach teenagers.

What baffles me are the people who don’t think I should take it personally. These people are questioning the way that I do ministry. They are questioning my integrity and saying that the way that I see God leading me to do this stuff is wrong. This isn’t a question of choices here or even preferences. This is a question of people who have no respect for what I do or how I do it. I just feel like I get zero respect. I feel like I should get a little bit more understanding. I know that you may question the way I do things, but if the fruit is there, if we are producing students with changed lives shouldn’t I get some sort of leeway? Especially if the stuff that you have a problem with is just a few little messes in the church!

Whatever happened to the church being a place for outcasts and marginalized people? Whatever happened to the church being a place where people could come and feel at home? What ever happened to the church where people, not building and rooms were the most important things?

2 thoughts on “Whatever Happened…

  • March 28, 2005 at 10:57 PM

    Do whatever you want to Shane. Who cares what those people have to say. Dont let them get you down.

  • March 30, 2005 at 2:15 AM

    Thanks Payton for your support. I didn’t realize that there were any students reading this blog or I would have changed what I was saying. I don’t want you guys to think that your church doesn’t value you. Most of the people in our church think that the youth are vitally important. And really even those people who make my life hard think that the youth are important. Some of them just can’t see beyond the ways that they always have done things in the past to see how things are changing. Don’t forget that most of these people have never been a part of a youth ministry. They have never been away to a Christian camp or a retreat. Many of them have never participated in service projects in our community or experienced the fun of having a shaving cream sword fight. You guys as students have had opportunities to learn and to worship that are almost alien to them. But our church does love the youth.

    In fact our church does a great job of taking care of you guys. The problems that I have are minor compared to many of the problems that face other youth ministers. Don’t ever think that you guys aren’t important to what our church is doing. Not only are you the future of our church, you guys are the life of the church right now, and most people see that.

    Of course there will always be little things that I find annoying and there will always be people who don’t see our vision of ministry and missions, but we will keep following where God leads us and trust that He will take care of all of the peripheral stuff that goes on. Don’t worry, you guys are more important to me than anything in my life other than my own relationship with God and Meredith. I love ever student who walks through our doors and my heart breaks for those hundred of others in our city who don’t come and who don’t understand how much God love them. Sharing the love of Christ with students is my passion it something I am willing to physically fight for if necessary so a few people who don’t quite see things the same way that we do isn’t enough to turn me away from that mission.

    You guys keep coming to church, keep diving into God, keep finding new ways to make worship not something handed down to you by your parents or my generation, but something that is uniquely you, find new ways to serve God and be a light in our community. That will make a world of difference. When you live out your faith, in your daily life and in church others will see that and respond. You are the life of this church, you are vital in our worship and in our growth. Hold tight to God in all of your life. And remember Paul’s words to Timothy.

    1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV) Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.


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