Working with middle school aged girls and pretty involved in my church's youth group, I get plenty of drama each week. Its amazing how a simple change to the weekly schedule or one youtube video depicting a WorldCrafts testimony can cause an outbreak of wailing and hissy fits. And on a more serious note, when one is actively involved in ministry with young people on a consistent basis and horrible things happen to said young people as they are all from welfare family backgrounds, its amazing at how quickly insomnia swoops into my personal schedule when I learn things I really didn't want to know.
I know its all out of my hands. There is literally only so much I can do. Its been a weekly question of, "Do we call CPS THIS time?" between my husband and I. The youth minister has called us more than once for our 'expert' opinion. (geez, ya marry a guy who was a police officer for 3 years and everyone thinks you know the law backwards and forwards or something!) We've talked with social workers and lawyers on a consistent basis, and cling to Scripture and prayer for wisdom. Its stressful.
And it really creams my corn when people ask with a note of derision or condescension, "So WHAT was your major in College? So WHEN are you going on a mission trip? Kids ministry really wasn't what you studied at Bible college... so you giving up this whole missionary thing?"
GIVING UP this whole MISSIONARY THING?!?!
The Mission Field sometimes seems to easy and peaceful compared to the situation I am currently ministering in. True, its pathetically 'normal,' and starkly lacks all the glory of an exotic country or people group I used to have when I bragged of being a missionary. Middle School kids? C'mon! Thats not a mission field!
Well, true, it isn't traditionally. But its become a mission field.
I grew up in an upper-middle class family. Granted we had a lot of debt, but that was more due to life choices than poverty. And all things considered I lived pretty well. Grandparents took me on trips to Florida or other places regularly, I always had SOME money in a bank account SOMEWHERE to spend as I pleased on outings with friends if I so chose, and always had a healthy list of hobbies that I regularly partook in. I certainly FELT like we were lacking a lot when I compared myself to other teenagers or family members. But looking back I had it pretty well. But I was put in lots of situations where people could easily mentor me. I love people and talking to folks from all walks and ages of life, so I had a sizeable collection of godly women in our various churches we attended who took an interest in me and who listened to my teenager woes. Mom took me to Bible studies with her, I met with other christian girls my age whenever I could, I started a little journal I passed around church with four other young women where we shared our gripes and victories and prayer requests.
I thought that was normal. However, the simple fact that I had one - let alone several! - older woman in my life is, I've noticed, a miraculous rarity.
The general consensus among the older ladies of my church is, "Oh God bless you and thank God you are ministering to these girls! I certainly have no idea how and never could!" Which seems to me to be a rather common mental malady.
When I was a teenager the huge push was to Evangelize more. And the common cure to any excuse was, 'You think you don't know how to evangelize? Are you saved? Do you know Jesus? Then you know how to Evangelize! All you are doing is introducing people to your Best Friend.'
I haven't noticed that huge push for Evangelism anymore but I feel like the mantra is still applicable. Are you in relationship with Jesus? Are you happy occasionally? Are you blessed with Common Sense (which ain't so common!!)? THEN YOU KNOW HOW TO MENTOR PEOPLE!
It aggravates me how complacent I'm hearing older generations about the illness of the North American Church. "Oh, another church is dying? Well thats pretty common. Its everywhere."
Seems to me North America IS the mission field. True, we know the rhetoric and all the nice, right, correct things to say. But we are stumped when it comes to application. Doesn't the New Testament say something about Faith without Works is dead? (James 2: 14-16) Churches are dying, youth groups are shrinking, people are forsaking the assembling of themselves together. (Hebrews 11:24-25)
It makes me mad. We're so concerned with nitpicking our preferences that we're killing ourselves as a church. Third world countries are sending missionaries to US. Why? Because they read their Bibles, pray like they believe it, watch for the Holy Spirit, and He answers them. Honestly, I count the number of times on ONE HAND that I have heard an American pray out loud like they honestly believed they were praying to the God of the Bible and had confidence that He would answer. And I am including myself in that assessment. I don't do it either!
I'm not trying to heap hellfire and brimstone upon us as a Church. I'm trying to wake us up to the Truth: The Truth that we are acceptable ministers of the Faith, but we don't act like it! (Hebrews 6:6-10)
Anyway... thats part of the reason I haven't blogged for a while. These thoughts have been swirling through my brain and I'm not sure how to release them without sounding Puritanical... :-)
Christians, start acting like our name: Little Christ! THEN we will see our Churches grow! But not before!