So yesterday I posted an article from Trevin Wax’s blog. It was a post that Trevin had written from the perspective of a youth pastor writing to parents. To be honest I liked the article, and even agreed with the point it made, but it didn’t go over well when I posted it. I’m not exactly sure why- could it be that I read it from a church leadership point of view while some others read it from the parent’s point of view? That’s definitely possible. To prevent any feelings of conflict I wanted to write the why I posted it, and the intent of the original post as I read it.
Why post a controversial article?
Back in the day we used to have what we called “Pot Stirring Tuesdays.” I’m not sure exactly how all that got started other than I would repost articles from different people (Al Mohler, Dr. Moore, and others) and my wide variety of friends would comment and discuss it. I think that there was some value in those conversations because it initiated conversations that would not have otherwise taken place. It was also valuable because there would be people from all different points of views discussing it. A major downside was that it had the potential to create conflict…
I have strayed away from posting some things for the sake of controversy and conflict. Maybe it’s a maturity thing, maybe it’s something else. I do not want to create conflict. I do not want to create controversy. So I must say that I don’t post things for the sake of creating conflict. I literally hate conflict. Dealing with conflict is probably one of the most important aspects of my job, but one of the hardest things to deal with.
Our desire must not be to create conflict, but if we are true to teach the Gospel it will certainly create conflict. We cannot simply run from all conflict. So while I didn’t post the article to create conflict I did realize it had that potential. I made the decision to post it because I saw value in what the intent was. I had no ulterior motives, I was not trying to be passive aggressive and post something for someone to read- that’s not my style. I don’t post vague things on social media to try and get someone else. That’s unwise, and unbiblical. I’d rather talk to someone and work through any issues I might have. I am genuinely sorry if it appeared otherwise. I am careful of what I post because I realize the standard that I am called to, and I do not want to do anything to cause any issues with anyone.
The Intent as I saw it
When I read the post I immediately agreed with what it was saying, but not necessarily the tone. The tone of the letter would be completely unacceptable to write to a parent (or anyone else), and any Youth Pastor/Leader/Pastor should know better. Something that we as a staff have been talking about for some time is the issue of priority— what gets priority, what things do we say “Yes” to, and what things do we say “No” to.
When I read this I don’t even read it as a Youth Pastor. I read it as a leader in the church, with a desire for all Christians to have Kingdom living as their priority. When I read it I hear a frustrated leader that sees people saying that Kingdom living is their priority, but acting like other things are their priority. Actions indeed speak louder than words. The way that we live indicates how we truly believe— and this leader sees a disconnect between the two of the parent he is writing to.
Church vs. Sports/Jobs/Culture
This letter seemed to indicate that there is a competition between church and sports, and me posting could seem that I believed there is competition between church and sports, or that I thought a student must have 100% attendance to be a Christian. I don’t see that in our ministry. While I think it is super important to come to church, and to be a part of the different gatherings— you won’t see/hear/read me saying negative things about someone who misses. The main drummer for our student band will miss every Wednesday night this semester because he plays for the football team. One of my main male student leaders misses on occasion because of his job. Different students miss at times due to homework, sports, or family activities and I understand.
But we must be careful that our involvement in other activities does not become more of a priority than the things of God. Sports are great, but they are temporal. When we stand face to face it won’t matter which extra-curricular activities we were involved in growing up. All that matter is what we did for His Kingdom. And you know what? We can (and should) leverage our relationships in our sports, jobs, etc for the Kingdom. I am not advocating a separation from society. But Jesus must be our priority.
I love my church. I love my students. I love my parents. They are all the greatest. I desire that all of them become more fully devoted as a disciple of Jesus. That means that following Jesus and multiplying disciples must be our priority.
Hopefully this makes sense to you. If you have any concerns feel free to contact me— I don’t want any disunity amongst my family (and that includes all of you!)
I love you guys!