Best of 2011: How To Get a Cool Kid To Your Youth Group

Jesus did not come to hang out with the rich people or the religious leaders. He spent his time with the downtrodden, the downcast and the downright rotten. This is something that is striking me more and more over the last few weeks as God teaches me about the purpose and shape of ministry. Sometimes I will catch myself frowning when someone does or says something that doesn’t fit into the typical youth group mold that I’ve grown accustomed to. Maybe someone asks a question in the middle of a talk, or maybe they’ll swear when they talk about suffering. Then, God says to me, “What are you doing? Love them. They’re my child.”

There is an expectation that when someone becomes a part of a church community, to belong to it, they must fit into it and become like the others there. There’s an article on the SydneyAnglicans website about the heresy of Sydney Anglicanism. It talks about how we expect people to get good grades, go to uni, then get a job that pays enough so that they can live a comfortable life and support and serve the church. But not too much pay.  How many people do you know that fit the mold? A lot? Me too. That isn’t a bad thing, for those of you who fit into that category, but when we expect others to automatically shift themselves to fit that, it becomes sinful.

It becomes a stumbling block. And that kid who asks too many questions or swears may not be the coolest kid in the world. They might be the most awkward, frustrating kid in the room, maybe even the local school. But God calls them to himself and if you have the awesome privilege of being one of the people to share the name of Jesus with them, rejoice. Rejoice in the questions, rejoice in their passion, because maybe one day that kid will write a blog about how you should look after that kid.

I misled you. I don’t know how to get cool kids to youth group. And here’s the thing… I don’t know that I want to. I want to welcome whoever comes and base their value on God’s worth for them, not my own worldly eyes.

Originally posted 25/2/11

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