While attending seminary on a full-time basis, I also serve as a part-time associate minister in a small congregation which is an overwhelmingly congregation of elderly people. This church is your typical traditional Church of Christ. There is no big exciting ministries taking place and certainly there is no dazzling youth ministry going on (we don’t have any teenagers in attendance).
Well three weeks ago two teenage boys, one of whom lives two blocks from the church building, decided to walk over to our building and visit us for worship. Because I was leading songs that morning, I was not able to speak with them until after services were over. After talking with them, I honestly thought that they would never show up again. But wouldn’t you know it, this past Sunday morning they both showed up again for Sunday School, worship (the beginning of our Gospel Meeting), and then stayed for the potluck afterwards..
I and another associate minister who attends seminary with me were able to spend the class time with them, getting to know these boys a little better. They wanted to study the Bible. Now let me tell you, everything you have heard about a postmodern world view was true with them (as far as I could tell). When asked what they thought about God… they replied that he is like a superhero in the sky.
Now since I happen to be very interested in the subject of Christian ministry in a postmodern setting, I was not intimidated one bit by the fact that their world view and understanding of life carries a complete different set of assumptions then I was raised with. Of course, I realize that postmoderns learn much easier through experience than rational thought (which is neither good nor bad).
So I thought that it would be very nice to have a dynamic youth group (community) to which I could invite these two teenager into and let them see the transforming power of God at work among a community of “God-people, so that they could eventually see that all of this “Bible / Church” stuff has some merit to it – hoping that this would lead them to an embracing of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But I don’t have this. All that I had was a library, the other associate minister, some Bibles, and some knowledge (feeble knowledge) to offer them. We started with Genesis and I tried to help them see the point of the creation narrative and why it meant something to the Israelites coming out of Egyptian captivity. And this rational discourse was intended to teach them that God created them to be his special people as well.
So I did not have the “ideal” environment for spiritual transformation among a couple of teenage postmodern minds. God still sent them our way and placed them before me so that they could begin to here and see the good news of God. No, I did not have the picture perfect situation to work with but I have learned something again. Discovering God is not dependent on whether I can engineer the perfect environment for spiritual transformation. Yes, if I had my choice it would be a different environment. But I did not have that luxury. Still, God sent them our way. I then can only do two things: 1) Plant the seed of Jesus Christ, and 2) trust God to water and increase that planted seed. I am still grateful for the opportunity to spend at least one morning with these two boys showing them where true life is found.
Who is God sending your way?