as i sit down to write this, i have been a youth leader for twenty days. during those twenty days i’ve worked at one of our biggest events of the year, helped lead one of the most intensely awkward events of the year, and went on a nine day mission trip. there have been a lot of things that i expected but a lot that i didn’t necessarily expect. one thing that i didn’t expect sticks out much more than anything else:
ministry isn’t all about the bible.
some people just read that and immediately thought that i was going to hell and that i should be fired from my job. others know exactly what i’m talking about.
in my twenty days of being a youth leader, i haven’t used many specific verses from the bible, i haven’t taught a single bible lesson, and i definitely haven’t debated the tiny intrinsic theological issues. what i have done though is live out biblical principles, show the love that jesus showed, and build actual relationships.
i’ve made more poop references than gospel references.
i’ve talked about girls more than jesus.
i’ve quoted movies more than the bible.
and by doing all of this, i have been able to connect to the students in a way that i didn’t know was possible.
i could’ve come into this position and been all jesus all the time. had i done that though, the students would’ve completely tuned me out by day five. by building relationships with them and showing them that i’m just a normal person like they are has allowed me to have truly amazing conversations when the idea of “religion” came up.
a lot of times we as christians, and especially christian leaders, get so caught up on how much we know about the bible and how much we can quote it. we think that is the most important thing there is when in reality it’s not.
one really cool moment that goes along with this happened last week in jacksonville. we were down there for a missions trip. on the first night, as me and another leader were getting ready for bed, five or six guys migrated over to our area. the next night, three of the guys had moved their beds next to us. the next night the group grew and we took it in the locker room so we didn’t wake up other people. we sat there talking for a couple of hours each night. i barely knew these guys. i’d just met most of them. during this time we talked about everything under the sun. i laughed so hard at some of the things that were said that my stomach hurt. we were there just being guys.
but somewhere along the path of just being one of the guys, i was able to show what a guy for jesus looked like.
there was one night that i was able to talk about certain struggles and how god helped with them. another night we talked about girls and how to handle certain situations in a godly manner.
during those times i was able to show jesus through the fart jokes and movie quotes. i was able to model what a godly dude was supposed to look like. they knew i wasn’t perfect but they could see that i was striving to be.
there are a lot of people out there, and some that are even reading this right now, that think that they can’t invest in someone else’s life because they don’t know enough about the bible. they think that they’re not good enough or smart enough or holy enough.
the truth is we don’t need another “holy” person out there trying to reach people.
we need someone who is real and who loves jesus and who isn’t afraid to admit that sometimes they suck but they’re still trying to be more like him every day.
there is no telling what could happen if we stopped trying to act holy and impress everyone and got real with each other.
who knows, maybe we could change the world.
and that’s what this whole jesus thing is about.
say your prayers and take your vitamins.
have a nice day.