April 20, 2010
Les Christie’s Response to “Why Church Kids Must Go Bad”
My book, When Church Kids Go Bad, was written to help youth workers make our youth ministries safe places for hurting kids. We need youth ministries that are a refuge for kids to feel both physically and emotionally safe. Places for all kids, and especially troubled kids, so they can hear and see the love of God.
Andrew raises the question regarding the purpose of youth ministry, asking “is it for making and keeping kids good?” The simple answer would be “no.” Our goal in ministry is to have students receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. We want students to be embraced by his love. Because of this encounter with Jesus our students’ lives are changed through their relationship with Jesus. We are all to be transformed; there are many examples in Scripture. Saul, who openly persecuted Christians, became Paul—a changed man. The apostle John, who was a violent and angry man before his encounter with Jesus, had an astonishing transformation. He became known as the “apostle of love” because, more than anyone else in Scripture, he both taught and embodied love. Jesus was able to channel that hate into something good. Our goal in youth ministry is not behavior modification, but it seems to occur when we embrace the Holy Spirit and respond to his work in our life. One of the fruits of the spirit is “goodness” (Galatians 5:22).