No One Wants This Type Of Ministry

April 20, 2010

Nobody feels too comfortable with this type of ministry. The stories I have to tell would send most youth workers screaming into their Christian Bookstores. Forgive my being offensive here but the last time I perused the Youth Resource aisle I didn’t find the books I need to deal with the issues I am dealing with. There were no books titled, “When I have to Drive My Cousin To a Topless Bar and Have to Pee?” and, “How to Handle Middle Schoolers Having Oral Sex in the Back of the Church Van.”

A few weeks ago I got a Facebook note from a concerned Pastor who asked me if I was aware of a girl posting that she was going to take a nap with her boyfriend. Given that she is not a believer, which seems to be the confusion here, people assuming that Crossroads Kids are all Christians, I am thankful for her candor. In a county where 1 of every 13 girls is going to get pregnant I am concerned about a resurgence of promiscuity. In fact at a recent meeting with my staff we discussed a historical pattern of increased alcoholism, followed by greater promiscuity which is followed by the popularity of drug use.

In rural ministry, where most churches give students a “get saved then act like a believer” direction, there is a gap as wide as the Grand Canyon between these students and the churches that claim to want them. The problem here is the investment it takes, the emotional resolve and focused energy required to train a post-modern, rurally poor, familially disjointed student as to What being a Christian is all about.

What makes matters worse is that “good Christian kids” don’t want to be involved with this kind of student. “Good Christian parents” don’t want their kids involved with that kind of student. “Good Christian churches” don’t want to infect themselves with this type of new believer. It is too time consuming, It is too much of a process. The failure rate doesn’t bode well for them either. And there is a chance that the bad will influence the good at a greater level than the good influencing the bad. I’d say it’s a case of salt that is afraid it’s not salty enough to change the taste of the soup.

Here is a rural ministry truth. No one likes the challenge of taking students from ground zero to spiritual self-sufficiency. Shoot! Most coaches and sports programs don’t do it either. Everyone wants the natural. In our rural community, most sports programs have identified their potential athletes by 4th grade. The only problem with that scenario is that giants do not grow by 4th grade. Late bloomers and students that need to be trained, including work ethic, passion and emotional resolve are simply too time consuming. The result in sports is a team that has played together since fourth grade but whose tallest player is 6’2”.

The same has been true of the rural church. We have spent time with the naturals but we have stunted our growth by not wanting the projects. Projects like Nicky Cruz, Billy Sunday, Tom Maharis, Dwight Moody or Issac Watts.

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Janice WilerApr. 20 2010, 11:34am

I so agree with your thoughts. The lives of our teens are so different from when I was a teen. We adults do not know what to do to reach the kids. It takes so much time and effort, we would rather ignore the needs for the most part. That is why I am so very thankful for Crossroads Farm. You have my full support and prayers.


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