Ministry Fertilizer

City of Refuge
October 22, 2007, 5:21 pm
Filed under: E-Votion, Principles of Youth Ministry

This morning I read in Joshua about the “City of Refuge”, which I  have always found to me one of the most interesting stories of the Bible.

As I read I took a moment to stop and think. Which as you know is much better then continuing to read as you mind goes on a journey. Normally I would try to focus my mind back.. however, since I have more time today then I do other days doing to week to read and think I just let it wonder.

I pictured a young man who with out intention killed his best friend as they had been wrestling around. He would think back about the struggle with his friend and think about how powerless he was to change what happened. How it didn’t even know how or why it happened but now he will have to live with the consequences. He would see all the pain he had caused as he told his friends parents. He would sit by his bed and think to himself what have I done is their any hope for me.

Then a friend would enter the room. The young man would look up expecting to have his ear filled with words or resentment and of judgement. However, he would hear of a place called the “City of Refuge”. It is a place where he can go and live out the rest of his life without fear of retaliation for what he has done.

He would ask for directions, pack his bags, say good bye to his family, and take off running. As he would run thoughts would come to his head. Is this place going to be like what I heard it is like? Will the people judge me for the mistake I made? Will they believe me that I did not intend to kill my friend?

As he would draw closer to the city he would probably slow down and think about the welcome  or the unwelcome he is about to receive.

You know every week some young person walks up to the doors of a youth room somewhere. They have not killed anyone. However, they are coming to a place they have heard would be welcoming to them. A place would not judge them. They have made mistakes and their home life is not to be desired. However, they feel powerless to change anything. With their hearts pondering they walk through the door and see you the youth leader.

Will you be prepared?

To be real honest and transparent with you. This week for a brief moment I forgot about the environment I was creating for my young people. A young girl who has been coming to our church not because she thinks I am a great preacher, not becuase we have fun games, but becuase she knows that she is loved unconditionally here.

She was playing with some little toy and it was becoming very distracting to me. So I simply as to see it for an illustration. I spoke about how there are things in life that distract us… then like the punk that I am I threw it out the door while yelling we must remove the distractions. Everyone laughed, I had a smile on my face, and even the girl seemed to laugh. However, later on I realized I had hurt her publicly. She didn’t talk to her friends about it. She didn’t sit in the corner and cry. She just seemed a little down.

On that day the City of Refuge was not quite as welcoming and loving to her as it had been before.

Youth Leaders… we have a great responsibility. If we had any idea what the church meant to some of our young people I believe we would work much harder at being the most loving, Christlike leaders we could be.


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