More Radical Than Jesus Graffiti

This morning I was running on the paved bike trail by my house and I ran across a new piece of graffiti. It was a picture of a cross and then the words “JC rules!”

How sad!

Yes… how sad. What a wimpy way to take a stand for Jesus.

Allow me to elaborate. This trail is one of the nice perks in the Sacramento area. For 30 years I’ve seen politicians debating to cut funding of the trail, while residents fight to keep it. Thousands of people use the trail daily. Hundreds of volunteer groups pick up trash along the trail and rake the sides to keep it clean. Sacramento residents really love their American River Bike trail, and whenever someone paints graffiti on it, we’re angered. It’s not only breaking the law, it’s a disrespect of the trail.

So am I as a Christian supposed to forget all that and celebrate that someone broke the law… for Jesus!

What do you think most people think when they see that on the trail? Do you think anyone sees that graffiti and thinks, “Oh, wow. Jesus. I’ll have to pick up the Bible and read all about him!”

Or do you think it’s more likely that they just think, “Damn Christians.”

I’d love to meet the person who spray painted that on the trail and ask him or her, “Why? Honestly. Is this your way of standing up for Jesus? Do you think you’re doing something radical by illegally tagging a picture of a cross? That’s not radical. That’s just a misdemeanor!”

If you want to do something radical… 

– Next time you see someone holding a “Hungry” sign, take them to lunch. Don’t just give them a dollar– take them to lunch and talk with them.

– Call up your grandmother or great aunt out of the blue and go visit with her. Ask her about her childhood. Just listen.

– Next time you’re hanging with your friends at lunch and you see someone awkward sitting by themself- go sit with them.

– Call up a mission organization and ask them what their biggest need is. Pray and see if God lays it on your heart to help them meet that need.

– Since you like painting so much, find a house in your neighborhood that needs paint and is owned by someone elderly. Tell them that you and your friends are looking to help someone in the community and would love to paint their house for free. Raise the money to buy paint, gather your friends and paint their house.

…the list is endless.

Or… you could just pull out a spray paint can when no one is looking and desecrate a wall or street somewhere for Jesus.

NOTE TO YOUTH LEADERS AND PARENTS: This would be a great little exercise to do with young people. Ask them to come up with a list of ways to truly and “radically” represent Jesus. Then ask them to choose one of their ideas and try it this week, reporting back in one week.

For more ideas… we’ve posted an entire page of “outreach event” ideas that groups have done together. Note the “serving event” column for ideas like the ones I listed above.

For a curriculum… My friend Adam McLane has created an amazing curriculum helping kids live out the “Good News in The Neighborhood.” So practical!

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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2 Responses to More Radical Than Jesus Graffiti

  1. dan manns says:

    i couldn’t agree more Jonathan! i love your take on doing something radical for Jesus like “call up your grandmother or great aunt out of the blue and go visit”. it sounds funny but for most teens the thought of doing something like that is completely radical. it requires them to think outside of the realm of self. getting a student to think of others before themselves is one of the markers along the highway of maturity. how about a radical youth group exercise for Jesus: go and clean the graffiti off of the American River bike trail.

  2. Tonya Berry says:

    Oh my goodness, Jonathan. You’re talking to teenage Tonya here. I used to do that all the time. It just didn’t occur to my 15 year old mind that breaking the law was not what Jesus meant when he talked about being radical for him. Party pooper! Gosh! LOL