When we think someone is sinning, we often feel compelled to comment. We can change them. We can help them. They just don’t fully realize the extent of their actions. They haven’t tried hard enough to change their stripes. They haven’t asked the right questions to get help. They haven’t read the right books to understand their own waywardness.
A long time ago, a few of my friends decided to start a ministry. By the standards of my other compatriots and I, it was a ridiculous one – a skateboard ministry. It began with putting on skateboard demonstrations at camp meeting and was one of these testimony-based ministries that seemed incredibly cliché. “You like skateboarding, right kid? Well, we do too! Come let us tell you why you should be a Christian!” By technicality, we were still “friends” or at least friendly acquaintances, but I didn’t hide my ridicule of them behind their back, and would definitely not be considered a “supporter” of them, not that I wanted to.
Whenever ministries get all ham-fisted and excited, I tend to be suspicious, touting C. S. Lewis’s quote about God being, “no fonder of intellectual slackers than any other slackers,” to justify my suspicions about the worldly oblivious. There’s something about an over-zealous canvaser or a high-aspiring bible worker that makes me want to say, “Really dude? You think these mean streets are going to bend to your ministerial formula? Welcome to the real world.”
Fast forward ten years later, and this group floats into my Instagram feed as a suggested page. It’s a skateboard ministry that has been making its way across Europe, ending at a 3-day Christian music festival Woodstock in London, like some British Woodstock for Jesus. Sure enough, it was the same guys I had blown off. I kept repeating their story as they helped build this huge outdoor skatepark and preached to an eager crowd, while I went through the ministerial version of an Avril Lavigne song.
The pithy adage “God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called” seems to get thrown around whenever witnessing is is required and moral is low, and though it doesn’t negate the significance of personal gifts and talents, it does seem to be what Paul communicates in 1 Corinthians 1. Yes, we might use a strange language, and seem eccentric and “outside” to those we are trying to reach. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Of course, what we do might seem inefficient. God will be helping us. How could our portion hold up in comparison? I failed to recognize this when my friends began their ministry in the woods of Wisconsin. Thank God they did.
NEXT STEPS: Young Adult Ministry Training