The Blessing that is Royal Lane
#1 -- My Journey Out: Introduction

My Youth Ministry Benediction

The following were my last formal ministerial words as a youth minister, delivered at last night's End-of-Year Youth Banquet:

On Wednesday night, I was using movies, poems, music, and novels to illustrate the basic theological themes that have guided my ministry here. I want to call you back to the image from Les Miserables. Valjean has stolen the bishop's silver, yet the bishop protects Valjean and gives him even more silver. This is the essence of what it means to be a Christian. As I have said, the purpose of youth ministry is not to create polite citizens. The purpose of youth ministry is to create radicals. Because Christianity is not about a list of things to do or not do; it is not about rules. Christianity is about completely and radically re-shaping community.

So, this is where the great adventure myths come in. Because the one virtue most needed is courage. Faith, hope, and love are only platitudes and sentiments without courage.

Therefore, my benediction to you all is: be not afraid. May you have the courage to live as Jesus--to live as a radical.


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I suppose I should write this to you in an email but feel somewhat obliged to post it here. Reason being: I want to pay homage to the work that you've done with us at RLBC.

I had been thinking all last week about continuity of the ministry to our youth in your absense. How would we carry on the work that you've done? Could I remember everything you've taught us, both as leaders and as laity? Would I remember and be able to deliver the same messages and truths as they relate to the life and ministry of Jesus and his Church ever after? I ran through all of the times, both in the group and outside of the group, that you and I spent together: movies, discussions, dinner, listening to music, going to the bookstore, trading postings online, etc. The list is full and endless. So, I was considering all of these things and panicking in a way.

Then, you read your benediction on Sunday. It all came into clear view. The message is so simple and the methods are many. We truly find God and God's radical kingdom in all of life because it is here and now. We must stop and take it in. And live it. Like Jim Wallis says: "We are the ones we have been waiting for." How true those words.

Thanks again, buddy. Your indelible imprint has been marked and we shall remember and carry forth.


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