Lifelong Habit of Spiritual Responses

Originally published November 1999.

I've been living out a story that I thought I would never have to.  One of the boys I’ve been raising was arrested for murder.  It’s hard enough to fathom that he witnessed a murder, a violent shooting death over a drug deal gone bad.  But he was there, in the car along for a ride to the mall.  Suddenly his entire life is different.  And I’m feeling pain I never imagined bearing.

This Randy is one of my leaders, been on a mission trip and he’s been being discipled by me for nearly four years.  Yet this is not his first arrest but this one is murder.  He witnessed a murder and never told anyone. How do you not tell anyone?  How do you have friends that commit murder, much less everything else that led up to it?

Why Do We Expect Our Youth To Take a Decision About Faith Into Adulthood?

Originally published in 1996.

A question was asked by a youth pastor, not to me directly but to a group.  It was “Why does it seem that Christianity, or the church, has no power to keep youth, or most people, for that matter, in relationship with God?  How many of us have seen kids who have a genuine conversion and relationship to God, on fire with excitement and enthusiasm, seem to slip away and go back to the old ways?”

Who reading this can relate to this question?  All hands raised right?  Both hands too, right?  I know I also have my feet in the air.

Teaching A "To" Faith

You are probably all too familiar with this scenario.  You are catching up with one of your teens who’s been missing youth group lately and who you’ve also heard things about.  You decided to order a “just-checking-in” pizza with this student.  In the discussion over that pizza he/she simply tells you that, “I’m going to have fun now and come back to God when I’m older.”  Decision made.  You say some desperate encouraging words back but then you watch this teen leave and you are filled with dread for him/her.  You know all you can do is pray, particularly for protection for the upcoming years.

These stories hurt.  These stories are why youth ministry can be so hard.

The band Slick Shoes are of the social punk genre who had large exposure from the Vans Warped Tour.  They signed with Tooth & Nail in 1997 but when that contract ended they chose a new label, Side One Dummy Label.