Every kid is an at risk kid. Every student is an at-risk student.
I heard that from a mentor, once. Let me clarify a bit: I learned early on from a another pastor I admire that anyone of us is 1-2 bad decisions away from catastrophe. He was talking about work, and that 1-2 bad decisions (by you or another) can leave you with no job.
But let’s apply that to kids and students in our world. When you think about it, everything can change so quickly. Even in an instant. And every child and every student I know is 1-2 bad decisions away from deep brokenness, risky behavior, unspeakable tragedy, and huge pain. It might be something he or she does – but it might instead be something a peer or parent or authority figure does that turns their world upside down. (Yes, I have been thinking a lot about the massacre in FL and the awful, increasing tally of incidents like it).
- And while that sometimes throws us into quesitoning what we do in ministry, this thinking clarifies things for me immensely. The gospel and the community that embodies it absolutely matters.
- It matters that we know and trust Jesus as our life and walk humbly with God.
- It matters that we know that God’s grace tells us who we really are and brings us to belong to his family.
- It matters that we have the courage to do justice and love mercy.
- It matters that we have the ability to befriend others with the grace of Jesus and walk with others in our mutual weakness and point to Jesus who is strong for us.
- It matters that we know a God who loves us deeply and will never leave us – so we can love our wives and husbands deeply and never leave them.
- It matters that we as a church pour our time and energy and heart into ministry to those 20 and under – and the parents and adults and extended families who lovingly lead them – so that they have the best chance at sitting front row and watching a God (who is making all things new) save, strengthen, and equip them for every good work he calls them to do in the middle of their ordinary lives.
I want to be absolutely committed to that work.