Monday, August 5, 2013

Jesus as Youth Pastor: Dealing with Randomness

"So what's the deal with God wanting my money?"

That was the first question.

"What if I'm married and some hotter girl comes along?"

That was the second question.

"Do I really have to listen to all the rules?"

That was the third question. 

If you've ever been involved in youth ministry, in any capacity, this probably sounds like a normal youth group meeting to you. The youth pastor had probably been speaking about priorities or choices or Jesus sacrificing His life for everyone. Then he noticed someone had a question.

The question, of course, was not going to be about priorities or choices or Jesus sacrificing His life for everyone. The youth pastor didn't know that, unless he'd been teaching teens for longer than twenty minutes. Then he knew what was coming. 

"So I saw this episode of Ninjago where the master told the ninjas to hone their skills for battle."

And even though that is not actually a question, the youth pastor now has the challenge of connecting that thought with his original thought. This kind of skill, though I've worked on, had always left me discouraged. If I was teaching well, shouldn't their questions be on topic. 

But then I realized that Jesus, the Master Teacher, had the same experience. The above scenario is from Mark 12, where Jesus had been speaking about the Kingdom of God and Himself. But then we see the Pharisees and Saduccees, like teenagers, volleying questions so random from each other. The amazing aspect is that Jesus kept up.

Taxes to Marriage to Law

Much like a youth group, the questions changed topics faster than Taylor Swift writes break up songs.

So I have decided that if Jesus put up with it, so can I. If I need to be prepared every week to answer questions about End Times to Sex in Heaven to Women Pastors, Dating in High School to the Devil in my bedroom to Justin Bieber witnessing through his music, so be it.

But the story in Mark 12 wasn't done. Then Jesus pulls the ace card out of His cloak. He turns the tables and confuses the crowd with a deep question. Having no answer from the crowd, Jesus got back to the topic at hand, which was Himself.

Well played, Jesus, well played indeed. 

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