Tuesday, February 25, 2014

#DangerDays: Paul Turner's Story

Today's #DangerDays guest post from another Twitter friend, Paul Turner. Paul is a veteran youth pastor and blogger whose wisdom and insights are always appreciated. You can follow him on Twitter @PaulTurnerToo and visit his blog at http://thediscipleproject.net/. Thanks for sharing with us, Paul!

“Danger Will Robinson! Danger!” says the robot from classic t.v. show Lost In Space. I wish I had my own personal robot that would warn me when danger is around. Some would say this is what the Holy Spirit does, but what if He doesn’t? When the Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness didn’t he see the devil there? Shouldn’t the Holy Spirit have warned Jesus not to go there? But He didn’t. The path of the believer is dangerous and if the Holy Spirit would warn us about these moments we would avoid them and miss every opportunity to grow. What I’ve realized is that, in life and youth ministry (which the Holy Spirit did not warn me was dangerous work), that the real danger to my faith is avoiding dangerous situations all together. So why put myself in harms path? Sometimes it’s unavoidable.

I work in a small church in the Southeast. It’s a good church filled with great people, but dangerous living has not been in their DNA until the tornadoes of a few years ago destroyed our church and a good portion of our town. Those were real danger days. The Pastor and I had only been there a year. We had no idea what would happen. How would this group of people respond? Would we fold up and would I be looking for another job? The good news is, the church not only survived the tornado but thrived since then. But danger does not sit back and  relax while we reload.

As part of the rebuilding process we built a new pavilion in addition to revamping an old drug store into a beautiful sanctuary.But nothing says danger to a church like skateboarders. Well, dangerous to the church property at least. I was informed by several people that kids had been “grinding” on the new benches and tearing them up. Danger Will Robinson Danger! But what they did not know was that the week before I got that report, I had a kid visit our youth group and share about how he wanted to start a drug free skateboard ministry. Coincidence? I think not. 

The safe thing to do would have been to tell these kids to stay off the property or to just shake my head and agree with the detractors. Instead, I set up a pow-wow between the skaters (some of them very new to our youth group) and our Pastor and a board member. I had coached the skaters as best I could, but I had no idea what they or my Pastor would say to each other. I sat silently and listened intently as both sides talked. My heart raced like I was in a car chase from a blockbuster cop movie. God did a good work, both sides listened and a skate ministry was born. Afterwards I had a Danny Glover moment (from every Lethal Weapon movie), “I’m getting to old for this crap.”

The longer I do youth ministry the dangers increase, not decrease. They come not from the outside but from the inside. Doubt, fear complacency, and even boredom become the most dangerous attitudes to my Christian walk and ministry. The greatest danger is the gravitational pull of the black hole called Status Quo. When I was younger, they expected some radical behavior. Now that I am older the mantra of “Grow up” grows louder. The danger of my position is this- I could age out with no plan for the rest of my life. But, I didn't  call myself to this dangerous work, God did, so my future is ultimately in his hands. Until that day comes, if it comes, I will say, “These were the best (and most dangerous) days of my life”

1 comment:

  1. I think God likes to surprise us by taking us out of our comfort zones, turning us upside down and spinning us around a few times. We may be dizzy for a while but we always learn something new about ourselves or change our direction for the better (that's if we're prepared to take that new path or accept that decision).

    Dangerous post mate. Enjoy the rest of the week.


Thanks for reading,and thanks for your comment!