I was reading Scot McKnight’s thoughts on the latest Christianity Today article asking where youth ministry is going. I agreed with all of his thoughts, but as a future youth pastor I want to take 0the steps a bit further. McKnight’s second point said we must move from “programs to personal discipleship.” I totally agree and I am worried that youth pastors are skipping the hard part of youth ministry. Theology, in the most basic root sense of the word, is the study of God. We are so quick to tell kids who God is. We tell him that he is loving, gracious, merciful and holy, but have we really thought about what this means? Have we really wrestled ourselves with the controversy of Jesus Christ?The controversy of Jesus Christ is simply this: Nothing in your life will satisfy you until you have formed your life centered on Jesus Christ and the community of God. If we do not see Jesus Christ and his call as controversial then we have missed the point. The point of Jesus’ call is that we would throw down our nets to drop everything and follow him. The point of Jesus’ teachings is that we really would take his teachings seriously. The point of Jesus’ teachings is that he really will tie a millstone around the necks of youth pastors for even one kid that we screw up. Jesus Christ desires that none should be lost and if we are at fault, Jesus Christ himself will hold us responsible. Are you scared yet?
Have we really wrestled with the controversy of the Holy Scriptures? YHWH is an uncompromising God who is willing to destroy his own people because they disobeyed him. The God of wrath in the Old Testament is something we must come to terms with because we still worship the same God today. We cannot pick and choose which gods we serve. There is only one God and he is not defined by our cute one-word descriptions of him. When David planned to build a temple of YHWH, he had to be reminded that temples do not restrict Him. If we are so built on a theology of four steps or seven steps then our kids will be Biblically illiterate. YHWH never made a seven-step process to becoming a person of God. He constantly challenges and prods. He intervenes when he believes times need him, but he does not conform. He has no image. Until we have come face to face with the living God I’m not sure how much we have to offer to students.
21Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
23He it is who reduces rulers to nothing,
Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.
24Scarcely have they been planted,
Scarcely have they been sown,
Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth,
But He merely blows on them, and they wither,
And the storm carries them away like stubble.
25″To whom then will you liken Me
That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One.
26Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.