If Jesus were to meet you today, what do you think he would say to you? The following is a pretend conversation between Jesus and me.
Jesus: Hi, John.
Me: Hey Jesus.
Jesus: How is the work with the youth in your area going?
Jesus: No, I would like a real answer.
Me: Fine. You see, the kids that we have are good kids. But, I don’t know how much they really rely on You. It seems like everyone wants me to mold the teens into nothing more than “nice people”. I think we make lots of compromise in youth ministry (not just in Sweet Valley) to keep the peace.
Jesus: People think that youth ministry is about making “nice” and “compliant” people? They sacrifice righteousness for peace in my church?
Me: Yes, sir. We have taken Your edge away from Christianity. We glamorize You with all sorts of technology and concerts and web sites and DVD’s and WWJD underwear. Okay, maybe that last one was a stretch. Do you see what I’m getting at?
Jesus: I sure do, John. It seems as if the youth ministry has replaced me with a bunch of less important things. It kind of makes me sad.
Me: How do we fix this, Jesus?
Jesus: For starters, you can rely more on My Father’s Words and less on your abilities. Then, if you are going to do what is right, you can throw peace out the window. There should always be someone angry at you for doing the right thing. And…
Me: Wait a minute! There should be people angry at me for doing what is right?
Jesus: Yes. For example, say Johnny so-and-so is acting up at youth group and you exercise discipline on him. That would make Johnny’s mother mad at you for correcting her child. But, you did what was right in my sight.
Me: Oh, I see.
Jesus: The other thing that makes me angry is when we substitute church activities for a relationship with me. It is like people think that if they attend every Bible study, youth group meeting, and Sunday School class; they will be in heaven with me. But these are the same people going out and getting smashed on Friday night. Yuck! I hate it when people act like the people in the New Testament. You think they would have learned from the Bible.
Me: I never pictured you saying the word, “yuck”.
Jesus: It’s a Greek word. Anyway John, I have to be going. Are we still up for coffee tomorrow morning? I love it when we can just sit together and talk.
Me: You bet, Jesus. See you tomorrow!