Skip to main content

Good kids vs. saved kids

I had a great time yesterday volunteering at CityTeam Ministries with some youth group kids. We were doing some team bonding in preparation for our missions trip to the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. I talked with the person in charge of the recovery center kitchen. Her experience with Christianity, youth, and pastors is radically different from mine.

After finding out I was a youth pastor, she said something like wow I’m so glad you’re doing this for the kids because without you, these kids wouldn’t be here.

And I thought, actually that’s completely untrue. In fact, the opposite is true. They would probably be volunteering more if it wasn’t for me. She didn’t know anything about the children of well-educated high-tech immigrants and the churches they attend. We are busy with all these activities at church, teach them to reach out to their friends, do bible study, sing, play etc.

Two of the kids had just been at CityTeam just a couple weeks before with Key Club, a secular community service club. She didn’t understand that Christianity did not make these kids good. They were already good. Most of their friends who don’t go to church are good. In fact, many of their friends are better behaved and more community-oriented than the kids in our church.

But goodness doesn’t save.

My hope and prayer and goal in ministry is kids (people) would not become good but saved. Not good but righteous by faith. Not good but transformed by the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Transformation among kids that are already good is a different kind of process. Its not immediately visible and it may not result in increasing “goodness”. Of course transformation definitely means people will bear fruit because their perspective and motivation is drastically altered. But it was never about being good.


Popular posts from this blog

A Dad's Review of Passport 2 Purity

[3,100 words, 11 minute read] The sex talk is one of the most dreaded conversations parents anticipate having with their children. To make things easier, an entire industry exists to help parents with sex education. Dozens of books have been written to help parents navigate this treacherous topic with their progeny. One of the best known among evangelicals is called the Passport 2 Purity Getaway package . It is produced by FamilyLife, a division of Cru (former Campus Crusade for Christ) and consists of a five lecture CD package including a journal and exercises designed as a weekend retreat for a pre-pubescent child and his/her parent(s). Passport 2 Purity was not my initiative. Our trip came about because Judy had heard from several home-schooling mom friends how they had taken their daughters on a road trip to go through the CDs. She even heard how a mom took a trip with husband and two sons to through the curriculum. So a couple months ago, Judy suggested we take our two older boy

Why Asians Run Slower

My brother got me David Epstein's book The Sports Gene . It is a fascinating quick read. If you're interested in sports and science, it will enthrall you.  I finished it in three days. Epstein's point is that far more of an athlete's performance is due to genetics than due to the so-called "10,000 hour" rule promulgated by books such as Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin (both which are very good). The 10,000 hour rule states that any person can reach expert level of performance in a sport if they devote 10,000 hours of deliberate and intentional practice.  That's a lot of hours. Most people aren't capable of anywhere close. And that's precisely Epstein's point. Someone who devotes 10,000 hours of sport-specific practice is likely genetically gifted for the sport in extraordinary ways AND genetically gifted in their ability to persevere and benefit from practice. Therefore, a person who can pra

Short Buffed Asian Guys (SBAGs)

I've always wanted to be tall. That didn't work out so well and I've settled for getting bigger. So now I lift weights, a pastime that I've taken up in fits and starts over the years. I thought about drinking protein shakes to get huge. Judy said no. She said I don't want you to become one of those guys. The Short Buffed Asian Guy (SBAG). It seems I'm not the only one to consider this approach. Legions of SBAGs testify to this. And it seem like the shorter you are, the more muscular you have to be in order to compensate for one's lack of height. I don't know any tall buffed Asian guys (Jeremy Lin does not count - he clearly has a neck). So what's with this phenomenon? First, Asian men are on average shorter than American men. And in my book, anyone 5'8" or under is short (which includes me). There are all kinds of insecurities that go with being short, especially for men. You look up to people. You make less   money . You fee