Friday, October 06, 2006

My First Crack at Evangelism.

Right. So it's been a couple of weeks now since I started working with SYM (Schools and Youth Ministries) and thus far I've yet to do any of 'S' and have only done a little bit of 'Y' and 'M'. I'm still finding my feet it would seem. Most of my time has been spent in the office (which, if I'm honest, kinda suits me coz the idea of taking lessons is still a bit scary) eating biscuits, planning lessons and, well, eating biscuits. It's going alright but I'm aware that I haven't really started proper yet. And the closer I get to doing the schools work, the more I realise that this is going to be a real challenge. One of the things that I've always known is going to be somewhat uncomfortable for me is the transition between discipleship ministry and evangelism. Pretty much all of my youth work experience (and indeed most of my church experience in general) has been with Christian people. I like Christian people. There's a less likely chance that they'll thump you when you say "Jesus". And so while I may be comfortable in speaking to Christian teenagers about God, I've never been the kind of guy who is breaking the front door down so he can get to the unsaved and unrepentant sinner and bless them with his wisdom. So this job, while being necessary in its scariness, is frightening the ever-loving pants off of me.

This afternoon, I had my first attempt at an evangelistic ministration. I went in with a guy from the Gideons to help him deliver some bibles to a school that's within my remit (i.e. a school in Chelmsford). We had the afternoon assembly in which he spoke a bit about the bible, I then gave my testimony, saying what the Gideon bible has meant to me and he then wrapped up and we gave the bibles to the kids as they left the hall. The thing is, what I'd planned to say kind of relied on my being funny and cool. I was going to talk about how I remembered what it was like having the Gideon people round our school and how I thought they were complete losers but it's alright coz since that time, I've discovered that reading the bible is a good thing and they'll listen to that and respect that and go away reading their bibles coz I'm funny and cool. But as I walked in front of them and opened my mouth, holding the little red bible in my left hand and got ready to save Chelmsford something occurred to me. As I stood there, speaking and watching them sniggering and rolling their eyes, it hit me. I'm the complete loser now. I'm that guy who goes round trying to be funny and cool so that I can relate to da kidz. And it dawned on me that regardless of who I actually am or what the truth is, in their eyes I was no more than a young, surprisingly attractive, religious weirdo who's not worth taking seriously. And no amount of clever jokes or witty anecdotes was going to convince them otherwise. And I have to come to terms with that. If I want to be a Christian leader, I'm going to have to be weird. And I'm going to have to let people think that I'm weird. And I'm going to have to walk around the town with a Tesco's bag in each hand (each filled with hair-nets and dog food) and shout at passing teenagers, demanding to know why they're not in school on a Saturday afternoon (just like St Paul would have done).


AndyMac said...

Ah, what wisdom you have! I think I'm learning that too, no matter how 'cool' or 'important' or 'right' or 'whatever' you think what you are saying is, they probably won't realise that until a few years down the line! I used to give my RE teacher hell, and here's me thinking I might be able to do it better than he did!

But then again maybe I might do it better, and maybe you won't just be 'that loser' but some of them might actully listen, and some might even take it in! As Kris Akabusi once said 'PMA man, P-M-A!!'

PS. The hair nets and dog food reference? you're a youth worker, not an 80 year old woman!

Anonymous said...

So are you going to Chelmsford Corps now?

Mitchenstein said...

Hey Glyn!

That all sounds very cool - and I can't think of anyone that would be able to do that kind of stuff better than you (awww, how nice) so go for it!

I've noticed that your hair is looking a lot more grown up now...


Glyn said...

Yeah the hair's a work in progress. I was going to just have it cut and do my usual spiky uppy thing but I've decided to let it grow for a bit and see what happens. It just means that my hair is now too long to spike so I'm flat-head for a while.

lucy AR said...

Hey, wow, rad job, but i can see it being a bit freaky, so On Ya Brother!

I am always surprised how the youth workers who get the most props from Da Kidz, he, are the ones who are just real not even relavent or whatever. I used to work with this guy who would wear joggin bottoms All The Time and who had this great big massive beard, but the homies and punks we worked with thought he was wicked. Not that I think you wear joggin bottoms (although you used to, shell suits, but i did too), in fact your photo proves you to be a v. swish evangelical.
All I'm saying is that... young people dont care, like you say, us youth workers will always be a bit sad right, but it is the Love! The Realness! and The Good News! Yeah!

Keep Charging.

Mitchenstein said...

Hang on a mintue - hang on a minute.

I've just worked out what you're up to mate. Encouraging me to get my head shaved and then starting to grow your own hair. You're trying to nick my style. You're trying to nick my style and I'm not standing for it.


Andy said...

Glyn, is this yet another attempt to become even more 'You, Me & Dupree' now you're living at ours?

You mock my baldage but you grow your hair to try and cover your own?