Friday, June 15, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This is our first Guest Post, and it is actually written by someone very close to me, my sister, Natalie Clason.  Enjoy her post and comment away!

As a student leader who just graduated from high school, I have seen the good, the bad, and the
ugly in Youth Groups and Student Ministries. I grew up watching my dad’s student ministries grow to the
extremes. A student ministry should be 10% of the amount in the congregation at the church. In the
church we attended of 2,000 people, my dad’s student ministry, on a big even night, would average
about 500 students. That number? The good.

The bad? That’s when the church is satisfied with the number they have. Yeah, they have more
than 10% of the congregation, they’re good. No, continue to grow! Continue to reach out to the
unsaved and the hopeless! Hopeless is pretty strongly negative. But, why would one have hope if they
don’t know what is going to happen to them after they die? Those are the kinds of people fully-devoted
followers need to reach out to. Everyone has a friend who needs reached out to. Reaching out to
someone does not necessarily mean talking about Jesus with them every time you talk. And it doesn’t
mean to tell them what they are doing wrong in their life and how to fix it. Reaching out to someone is
being Jesus to them: love them unconditionally and love God unconditionally.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” -
Matthew 22:37-39

The bad was bad, but the worst is the ugly. The ugly is the world. Our world is falling apart.
Everywhere you turn you find drugs, sex and alcohol. Usually the ones you find are doing these things
are between the ages of 13 and 18; underage. “Alcohol use remains extremely widespread among
today’s teenagers. Nearly three quarters of students (72%) have consumed alcohol (more than just a
few sips) by the end of high school, and more than a third (37%) have done so by eighth grade.” (http:// This is such an issue for me, because most kids grew up watching their parents do
drugs and come home drunk. Kids look up to their parents and normally obtain their habits. So, why
would my beliefs trump theirs?

Another part of the ugly is greatly related to the issue of the world: student leaders. Because of
the way people have conformed to the world, it is very difficult to find reliable and trustworthy student
leaders for a student ministry. In the church, the student leaders seem to be very mature and devoted.
But, as soon as they leave the church and hang out with their friends, they become conformed to the
world. They fall into peer pressure; they hang out with the wrong crowd and want to fit in. It’s hard for
them to bring friends with them to church who will make a decision in their faith. Because their friends
see the person who goes out and parties and has sex with his/her boyfriend or girlfriend. Their friends
may think that’s it’s easy to be a “Christian,” and the make the choice to do so. But, after the fact, they
don’t have anyone leading them in the right direction to the best walk with the Lord. How ugly is that? It
makes me so sad, and I have been so disappointed in the way my student ministry has gone. My youth
pastor is amazing, it’s just hard to minister to the kids of this world and trust some other student leaders.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you
will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” –Romans 12:2

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