There has been a lot of talk lately about “Sticky Faith” and Sticky Youth Ministry. My last two days in student ministry have certainly been sticky, but a different kind of sticky. Sunday after church, after week one of a sex talk no less, I had a mother come into my office and tell me her son had been arrested and placed in the county Juvenile Detention Center. Heavy.
He was charged with “assault with a deadly weapon.” Heavier.
Talking with a student on a telephone through bullet proof glass is the last thing I thought I would be doing when I woke up on Sunday morning, but it’s precisely where the Lord had me end my day.
Student Ministry gets very sticky sometimes, and how we choose to act or react in these sticky situations will effect how our students react to the gospel. As I spoke with my student across the glass I made sure he understood the weight of his decision, but also offered love. Sometimes God uses our rock bottom moments to get our attention. Sometimes we ignore God until we are forced to listen and ask for help. It’s sad that He has to get our attention in this way, but our God is also a God of forgiveness and grace.
As Student Pastors we have to navigate the line of gospel-centered correction and gospel-centered grace. To far in one direction and Christianity comes across as dogmatic and rigid. If we go too far in the other direction we make His grace cheap and downplay obedience: our only response to a love so deep.
When have you struggled walking this line? How have you succeeded or failed?