resignation (pt iii)

when i arrived in alpine i wasnt fully aware of the situation i was walking into. the previous youth minister guy (who is now like family) made some seriously bad choices in his dealings with some of the teenagers and parents. he was forced to resign but the issues were never really dealt with adequately.

for this reason many of the youth and parents had unresolved trust issues in the position i had come to fill and though they befriended us they were keen on being watchful of everything i did. in some ways this was great. having worked in churches where not many youth attend and many parents dont seem to care we were excited that we finally had both youth and parents who wanted to be actively involved in wot we were doing and would take part in our various events.

as things got rolling my approach seemed to be drawing a crowd. the teenagers were coming and bringing their friends. they were interested in the bible and in asking questions. there was some lively discourse. everything seemed pointed in the right direction.

and the parents were involved in a number of ways. some sat in on bible studies. some hosted parties at their homes. some agreed to help with our efforts to be involved with the local fca. some agreed to go as sponsors on trips. it was great to have such devoted people working with us.

but shortly after my arrival a situation arose that stirred the unresolved trust issues. having jumped with both feet into a series of lessons on the gospel we got sidetracked from the concept of sin and ended up in a discussion about satan.

and i just dont like him.

i dont like teaching about him or even giving him the time of day. i think theres a plethora of misconceptions about who he is and where he came from and how powerful he is so whenever possible i dismiss him and focus on us bc we are the real problem. i really believe that we sin bc of our own desires as it says in james 1:14-15.

but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

but the youth were persistent about satan and so against my better judgment we got into a qna on the topic. rather than spoon feed the youth i tried to get them thinking about the texts they were bringing up in dialogue but in the end all i accomplished was frustrating and confusing everyone. as a result some of the parents became vocal as well and after a few weeks of such turmoil it was clear that we had gone completely adrift of my intent.

but the damage was done and coupled with their lingering trust issues only compounded the situation. there were other circumstances in the following months that only served to widen the gap.

my desire to have teenagers accomplish bible readings in advance of our regular bible study mtg time was deemed inconsiderate of their time and involvement in other activities. my approach to discipline during bible study was called into question when i asked one of the students to step outside after he made an inappropriate and disruptive comment. my leadership concerning plans for spring break was a source of severe continuing criticism for several months even lingering after our return from a trip to the coast.

with the unresolved trust issues serving as a foundation – these and several other issues created a vast and growing chasm between myself the youth and the parents. it was at the zenith of these problems that another matter came to the forefront and led to my departure.

and i honestly didnt see it coming…

(2 b continued)


~ by graceshaker on October 8, 2009.

5 Responses to “resignation (pt iii)”

  1. Did anyone ever explain why they were so consumed with learning about satan? I’m just wondering what their prior experience of teaching was on the subject.

  2. I wish I could get you talking to my friend Shawn. You guys are somewhat different theologically (he is of the evangelical friends; Quakers with preachers) but he has been through the ringer as a youth leader and worship leader. His stories amaze and anger me at how fickle and foolish people can be. Church is to most people a weekly social event that is supposed to make us love ourselves more and never enroach on our daily lives or cause us to question our beliefs or practices.

    As an example, last year Shawn wanted to recognize two of his students who were exceptional in their love for God and bible and holiness with a graduation present of a nice study bible. Shawn paid for these bibles out of his pocket, and presented them to his students before the congregation. This made all the other students and parents angry, especially one set of parents who stopped attending church over it.

    The pastor wanted to make Shawn apologize to the parents who stopped attending and at first he refused, stating that there was nothing wrong with rewarding good behavior, that the parent’s kid rarely attended class and was well known for partying on weekends and sleeping with different girls. When he did attend he was disruptive and tried to distract other kids and get dates with the girls.

    To make a long story short, Shawn was eventually forced to sign a written apology that was presented to all the parents, buy all the kids study bibles, and attempt to reconcile with the parents who stopped attending at their home. The parents refused to talk to him and have not been back to church.

    Shawn has been in trouble of doctrinal issues as well, and I may be partly to blame as he has come to believe in God’s sovereignty and preaches and teaches that which makes everybody mad sometimes. I could tell a hundred stories. It is angering and heartbraking.

    Your story has taken a turn which makes my anger burn hot, and at the same time I want to cry. Don’t people understand what’s at stake? God give them grace to open their eyes.

  3. Wow Joe. I know of things that have happened here, but I don’t think they ever quite reached that magnitude. Shame on them.

  4. Talk about a cliffhanger . . .

    I’m really sorry all this happened.

  5. pt iv please

    can’t imagine this is easy to re-live. brings back memories though, and you re-tell it well.

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