Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Honest Church

One life touches others. Inevitably it does. Though it may not seem like it sometimes and the path seems dark and lonely, one life still touches others and impacts things, sometimes in ways you never expect.
There are many times as a youth pastor I get frustrated. Frustrated by the choices students are making. I get frustrated watching students make grand commitments to God and then seemingly make no changes in their lives. I've seen it a million times.
There are times I begin to wonder if anything I say is listened to, or if my cries for sexual purity and a whole hearted pursuit for God are falling on ears that think that nothing in life is more impossible.
Tonight was not such a night. It's odd how often I feel off about nights, and God turns them into amazing moments of grace for me.
I got a text message after service tonight from a student that said "You know what this youth group has meant to me? It has saved my life. Literally, from cutting and suicide." It was in response to a question I had asked during youth group about what sort of story and legacy our youth group is leaving.
Tears streamed down my cheeks. This student's parents don't even go to our church. His life has been hard and lonely.
If it ended there I would be excited enough, but the truth is, he wants to share his issues with the group. He wants to bring about awareness to cutting and suicide, and wants this community of believers to see him at his most vulnerable, and surround him with love. He wants them to ask him questions. He wants to be authentic before them, and in turn open the doors for them to be authentic with him.
You may call that a lot of things, but I call that church. True church, in it's honest and truthful form. Where your wounds can be exposed without judgment, and there is peace and rest there.
Of course I didn't discourage him, but opened up the door to have a night honestly dedicated to the issues he has struggled with, and truthfully talking about what it means to be broken, and the redemption christ wants to bring into that.
God is moving. He is alive. He is breathing life into this place, and of all people to choose to be his hands and feet, he has chosen me, and I will never completely understand why, but am grateful to be a part of the story of these young people's lives.

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