Friday, March 13, 2009

Worth It

At our Wednesday night gathering this week, I talked with the junior highers about an elephant in the church--human sexuality. True, recently lots of churches (like this one, or this one) seem to like using sex as marketing tool, similar to shampoo or Carl's Jr commercials. (Don't get me started on that one; using sexuality as a commodity seems inappropriate, especially in the church). Yet it's still one of those subjects that the church finds...well...awkward. The church isn't well known for talking about sexuality in meaningful or healthy ways. Thus, I also encouraged parents to come join us for our talk to hear about creating a family environment where sex can be discussed.

So when 28 parents showed up, I started rethinking if my "hey parents, come to youth group!" was a good idea. You try talking to 80+ students and 28 parents about sexuality and church. It's scary. You say one wrong thing and it could get really awkward really quickly.

The point of all this is not a church sex talk, but how the parents responded. In the youth ministry world, youth workers complain how a sex talk--or any mildly controversial issue--often results in angry parent phone calls and emails. It's almost expected, a guarantee even. So it was deeply encouraging to have multiple parents contact me to let me know how much they appreciated me and where the ministry is heading. It wasn't much; a quick comment as they were leaving or a brief stop by my office the next day. Yet their kind words made all the difference. It was a breath of fresh air.

What I expected to be a difficult night proved to be one of the most encouraging moments I've had in ministry. Having parents make a point to tell you that you're doing a good job is remarkable. In future moments of despair, this will be a moment that I bring out of my memory bank to remind me that God actually works through me sometimes. And that makes it all worth it.


  1. Good job, Joel. Props to you for being obedient to the specifications of the calling! =)