I was talking to a bunch of college students the other day and they were friends of friends of friends. you know, that kind of thing. and all of the sudden in the middle of the conversation one of the boys blurts out, "are you MO?" i just started laughing and nodded, not knowing for the life of me who this kid was. but who could blame me, it had been so long since i had seen him and even back in the day he was never one of the kids that came all that much.
whatever the case may be, it was funny what came out of his mouth next. he was wondering what i was up to and if i still did the church thing. i said that i did without pushing the conversation, waiting to see where he was going to take it. and then he told me something that i love to hear. he said that he would have never guessed that i was any type of pastor because of the way that i acted. i was like, wow, this is not a god thing — or so i thought. then he went on to tell me that i was too "cool" to be xtian... hilarious. i mean, this kid is considered to be one of the "cool" kids by those he knows, etc. i was laughing, flattered of course that an old guy like me could be cool enuff to be considered not a xtian. but i was! as you would imagine, i was so excited.
i guess my point is that with all the stuffy peeps out there right now there are a lot of pastors, youth pastors and the like, doing stuff to make others feel like if they are not xtian then they are automatically going to be considered an outcast. what my former student was referring to about me being cool, after talking with him for about two hours, was the he ended up leaving the xtian faith because he felt that no one was meeting him where he was at. that out of all the pastors that he talked to about his questions of xtianity most of them made him feel like he was stupid and lacked faith because he did so.
My guess is that many of those pastors were either too ignorant about the xtian faith to answer intelligently questions concerning dinosaurs, the age of the earth, the meaning of the Cross, etc., or they just had too much seminary crap in their barrel and felt that they had the perfectly wrapped answers for such questions, both simple and complex.
kids are down to believe in JC, we just need to give them a reason to do so. and it all comes down to listening to them and understanding that we do not have all the answers and it is ok that we do not. because there is a difference between being intolerant and kids today know it. you as a youth group person need to be down to earth enuff to know that you do not know it all and that you believe because you have faith. and sometimes faith has to be enuff. we all know that there are tons of questions about the faith that we will not be able to know, no matter how much study we do. think about it. if it hasn't been answered for centuries, what makes you think you are going to have the perfect answer?
Hold on to your faith and don't be intolerant. JC was unwavering but loved all those he came into contact with knowing that was the best approach. So, next time you around others who do not know JC I hope you are "cool" enuff to know love them where they are at.