Why Youth Pastors Shouldn’t Rule the World Reason # 14

Are you a system-bucker?  Do you challenge every ‘why’ with a ‘why not?’  Do you ever find yourself ‘standing up to the man?’

Some youth pastors are system-buckers.  I don’t know if it comes from working with teenagers (who have an anti-system gene in their DNA until age 26) or if it’s an innate response to finding ourselves at the bottom (or under) every totem pole, or if we are just masochistic fools who abhor coloring within the lines.  Regardless, we buck the system.

And system-buckers aren’t always a bad thing.  Consider some of the famous system-buckers and enjoy good company:  Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, ShadrachMeshach&Abednego, Jesus….all buckers of said-system.  Sometimes it’s a good thing to challenge the status quo.  These people had a cause worth fighting for.  They had a history to change.  They had principles worth defending.

Is that the kind of challenger you are?  Do you challenge because the greater purpose beckons your resolve?  Or do you fight because of blood-lust?

I don’t have a specific ‘boy-Darren-sure-screwed-up-that-one’ story…at least not one that I’m willing to share….but in the essence of embracing fallibility, I can confess that I have – at times – blurred the lines of fighting for principle and just fighting, period.  It’s an inherent danger that comes with bucking the system.  I have to continually check myself.  Am I fighting this because it will make a kingdom-difference?  Or am I fighting this because ________________________? (I want to win.  I started and I can’t stop now.  I don’t care for the person I’m fighting with.  They’re wrong – and I need them to know it. The system is just stupid and pointless.)  Fill in the blank.  I’ve erroneously used all the latter statements as reasons (and sometimes even pawned them off as God-given reasons.)

Some issues are worth fighting, bleeding, and dying over.  Give your last ounce to sit at the front of the bus.  Break the bonds of religious slavery.  Stand up to the King.

But don’t shed your blood in vain.  If it’s about anything less than the Kingdom….the future…..your purpose – you might want to reconsider.

Why Youth Pastors Shouldn’t Rule the World Reason #273

“Hey! Good to see you….bro!”   “How’s it goin’, chica?” (Maybe we only say that in South Texas.)  The standard fist-bump, high-five, or side hug.

Youth pastors shouldn’t rule the world because we cannot remember names.  And rather than just ‘fessing up’ to this short coming, we’ve designed all kinds of ‘smoke screens’ to throw people off our tracks.

Here’s a news flash….THEY KNOW!  When you don’t remember their names, know their stories, or invest in their lives – it doesn’t matter how many pseudo gang-signs you throw or generic colloquialisms you say – they know you don’t know them

How about this story of ‘fallibility’?  (I almost didn’t write this one because I know my former students will recognize their stories in it and because it’s so shameful….yes, in my humble but accurate opinion, worse than sending the entire church porn under the pastor’s name!)

My student ministry was growing.  Kids were bringing their friends all the time.  We had a lot of students coming….and staying!!  Lindsey (her name is not changed, because if she’s reading this, I want her to know I still KNOW her name) had been attending with her friend Leah for months.  Every week I would give her a standard ‘hey girl’ line – or something lame like that.  Occasionally I would bust out an ‘I’m so sorry – can you remind me your name again’ (which, in my opinion, is the best way to do it!).  Lindsey made a decision for Christ – and soon after, decided to be baptized.  I never forgot her name again.  (YAY for me!).  But how that translated for her was ‘Darren doesn’t remember your name unless you get baptized.’  I know this because she told me every day for the next two years!

What kind of ministry are we doing where our interactions with students are so superficial that we cannot remember names?  Or where our programming is so paramount we don’t get the chance to learn names?  Or where we are so over-run with students we don’t enlist people to KNOW who those kids are?  Or where we only invest (or appear to invest) after kids become ‘regular’ in attendance, get saved or baptized, or take on leadership roles?

Jesus made a big deal out of names.  He called people by name – changed names – and even defined people by their names.  At the very least, we should know them.

Lindsey – thanks for challenging me to be better at that (or at least more honest).

Remember names – it’s an indicator that you care.

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