Story by Mike Green, Executive Director
“I believe in God” was how he answered my question. It sounds like a pretty good answer. Or, it does until you know the question.
Robbie and I had been talking for a while. I had asked about his family and plans for the future. I had learned what he hoped to do after school and that he had dated his girlfriend for six months. He mentioned being a Christian, so I thought I would find out some more about his faith in Jesus. So I asked, “share with me about your faith.” His answer was simple and straight to the point: “I believe in God.” And then the most important part of his response…the silence that followed. Robbie was finished. There was nothing more to add. He had summed up his entire Christian experience with just four words.
My conversation with Robbie continued. So what do you believe about Jesus? His answer was sort of a blend of “Jesus is cool” and “I’m not sure I agree with churches.” Yeah, so what do you believe? “I’m not sure yet” was all I could get from him. So I pushed a little further. Tell me where you are looking for answers. Robbie seemed confused by the question. So I repeated. You say you don’t know what you believe, so where are you looking to find answers about Jesus? Robbie’s face turned from confusion to a bit of embarrassment. “I don’t know where to look. Everyone has a different opinion.”
This moment of honesty from Robbie opened up an opportunity to share the amazing story of Jesus’ love and sacrifice for us all.
As I reflect on my conversation with Robbie I am reminded there are hundreds, even thousands of teenagers in Tuscaloosa whose faith can be summed up in only four words. Words that have little meaning and camouflage a lack of understanding and little commitment to follow anything. That is why I am so passionate about what we do together in the lives of over 1,000 youth. In our partnership we explain the Good News of Jesus and how His death, burial, resurrection and life are relevant to the lives of every kid we meet. We are convinced that life can be found in Jesus. And we are dedicated to sharing that message with teenagers who range from not believing in God to those who claim to be Christian but really understand nothing of the faith.
My conversation with Robbie also confirms why we do ministry the way we do. YFC is not about showing up on a campus for a few hours or days, sharing the Gospel and them moving on to the next campus or city. We are embedded here in our community and in our schools. We have conversations with many of the same students week after week. We invest countless hours in appointments, hanging out, and doing life together with these youth. The result – changed lives through the work of the Gospel.