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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.

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