i lead a small group of high school chaps at my church. lead them in what, you ask? i'm not always sure. i thought it was a Bible study, but we don't always open the Bible. i wondered if maybe it was a discipleship group, but i really had no idea what that meant. i guess i settled on the fact that it is a really cool hang out time with a really cool collection of young men.
we talk about our lives. the good stuff and the terrible stuff and everything in between. when i want to get something "done," they seem to only want to talk about football and girls...which is not really a shock to me or anything. i often wonder if these guys know much about the Bible, or who God really is. i don't know if they consciously walk with God on a semi-daily basis, and i don't know if they pray (othen then right before a big test) on their own.
at this point, you are likely thinking..."this guy is probably the worst small group leader of all time," and you might be right. however, here's what i do know: these guys want to know God, to follow God, to rely on God, and to glorify God. they don't have the churchy lingo down yet (praise the lord), but this desire oozes from almost everyone word they utter. they want to do what is right, not just in their parents' or teachers' eyes, but in the biggest, truest, most universal sense possible. they want to live in tune with the ultimate reality.
to all the naysayers of so-called, "postmodern" youth ministry, i invite you to sit in on our group anytime. tell me that they need more rules...tell me that they aren't getting it...that they are moral relativists, that their world only revolves around them...that they have no sense of sin or God's judgment. these dudes certainly have lots to learn, and they will learn in time...through conversation, experience, and actually encounters with the maker of all that is, seen and unseen.
last week, we read psalm 139 together and talked about what it means to be known...and to be known by God. their questions and insights would have blown your mind. at the end, we decided that we were going to pray the last two verses of the psalm (see below) all week long, and see what God has in store for us. i would be lying to you if i said that we came back this week and they were all changed men, all headed for wheaton and moody on the seminary fast track. i would be lying to you if i said that most of them even remembered to do it more than a day or two. but two things were pretty cool about the experience. first, the one guy whose spiritual condition i understand the least was the one who actually followed through more than anyone else, and he shared that he was feeling a sort of crisis about his future, namely that he was having trouble finding any deep driving force behind choosing classes, getting good grades, and following the road map for worldly success. now, i definitely encouraged the lad to work hard in school and plan for the future, but his first pangs or realizing the meaninglessness of this present age were really exciting to me.
the second cool thing was that i only had to pray that prayer one time and God brought my world tumbling down on top of me. he found some offensive ways in me alright and he is leading me in a whole new way everlasting. i will write more on this later, as i am feeling unable to to capture it with words at the moment.
i really feel like i am emerging from one of those dark nights of the soul that you only think you'll read about and never experience.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
- Psalm 139:23-24