Let me just state from the outset how deeply my tongue is in cheek with this post. I mean no disrespect toward the Author & Sustainer of Everything. Please keep the hate mail at bay. He’s awesome, and I hope my youth ministry looks as much like His would as possible (sorry, though kids, I will not be making wine for youth group any time soon). I just had a random and mildly humorous thought pop into my head the other day and thought I’d write about it. What if Jesus was hired to be the youth minister at a typical church? I wonder if the church as it’s established in our part of the world at this particular moment in time would run Him out of youth ministry as quickly as the Pharisees ushered Him out of the Rabbi business?
While He’s definitely got the whole Messiah thing nailed down, I think Jesus would probably not be employed today as a youth minister. At least not for long – He’d get fired. I overheard some of the ladies talking with a couple elders in my head the other day, and here’s why they want to fire Jesus:
He tells some of the kids they don’t really need to go to Bible college for a year – but they could go to Uganda for a while instead to work in some low paying orphanage. Now, just how are they supposed to provide for themselves in a place like that? They have a future to be thinking of you know… How are they going to meet someone nice in some slum village on the other side of the planet?
He just doesn’t understand the importance of the fellowship hall’s memorial carpet. Mrs. Alder donated that carpet 30 years ago in memory of her dear father, who laid the bricks of this church with his bare hands and his own trowel. How can He let those kids walk around there dumping their Kool-aid everywhere? It’s disgraceful.
He lets those skater boys hang out in the same activities as my 12 year old daughter. Those boys are trouble. I don’t want them near my girl, tempting her with all that rebellion and scorn for authority. They need to learn some respect before they’re welcomed around here.
He’s always spending His time with His favorites. They even have secret events the other kids don’t know about. It’s really not very fair.
He’s always talking in metaphors that a lot of the kids just don’t get and even purposefully confusing them sometimes. That whole “eat my flesh” game just sounds creepy to me! Maybe even demonic. I think they’re risking some pretty dangerous misunderstandings?
He thinks they need to make Him and His stuff their highest priority – like they should do whatever He says or something. My kids don’t have time to be around for His every beck and call. They have football camp and art lessons and all kinds of stuff going on. He’s not the only thing going on you know. We’ve got vacation plans to the Bahamas this year, how’s my kid supposed to be gone for a ten day mission trip to Haiti?
He made wine.
At this point, I quit my imaginary eavesdropping and thought about the things I value for students in my ministry and for my own kids… I have to admit, that sometimes, as a parent, the safety and security I want for my kids may be at odds with the radically life altering Way of Jesus. As a youth pastor, the high calling and expectations I share with my students may not always gel with their parents’ desire to see them live the American Dream.
Students, if I’m pushing you, please know I only do so out of a desire to see His Dream come alive in your life. The spark of life that He’s placed within you is begging to be fanned into a flame that will honor Him. I just don’t want to see you settle for a merely ordinary life.
Parents, I know you love your kids and you’ve invested in them far more heavily than I ever could. I want to do everything I can to honor and maximize your investment. But there is Another who has invested far more than any of us deserve. Let’s defer to Him, and let’s agree to never fire Jesus from our ministry to our next generation.
He’s their only real hope.
Don’t fire Jesus.