A little while ago my friend Doug Fields and I Tweeted to our followers asking if there were any youth workers in the Horn Lake/Walls, MS area, just south of Memphis who would be interested in connecting with a kid that needed to be reached out to. Our friend Mark Matlock even connected us with a pastor who knew many people from the area, and he too started asking for help.
I’ll keep it short: Most youth pastors didn’t even return our phone calls, and of three guys that I started a dialogue with about it… they didn’t even return our emails. Several of these guys even told me they’d do something… and didn’t.
Call it what you want—this is a matter of integrity.
A couple weeks ago I wrote a series on Doug’s blog, The 7 Qualities I’m Looking for Hiring a Youth Pastor. In that series, the third quality I listed was “Follow Through,” a quality we’ve observed rapidly becoming extinct. All of us in leadership are experiencing it. As I am writing this blog, Mark Matlock just told me about a lunch he hosted where he had 50 people tell him, “I’ll be there.” Only 30 showed up.
Am I one of the few disappointed by all of this? Am I so ‘old school’ to actually think “yes” means “yes.” (Did I just allude to scripture?)
In the last couple months I’ve literally had four pastors ask me if I knew any good potential youth pastors looking for work—they were looking to hire one. I honestly didn’t have a name to give them (and I know plenty looking for work).
Why does this particular incident sting so bad? A few months ago a teenaged boy emailed me and started a dialogue with me about God, faith and Christians. This young man had some great questions and was really seeking answers. He had encountered some negative experiences with the church and was hesitant to go to the church for help. After a month or two of correspondence, I finally told him, “I think you should try to connect with someone face to face.”
He said, “I’m afraid to. Plus I don’t know where to go.”
I told him, “I can find a safe place.”
Thus started my search… my search that has led me to find flakey people around the nation.
So I’m pleading again: Is there anyone that lives in the Horn Lake/Walls, MS area who would be willing to actually reach out to this kid?
Or was his stereotype of the church correct?