Last night, my husband and I received a message from a friend of ours. It was a link to a picture on facebook. The picture was of a boy we used to know. It seems this boy, now fourteen years old, shot someone over a bicycle and was on the run from the police. As we both sat in stunned silence, I began thinking for the fourth or fifth time this month:
“Why Isn’t It Working?”
I felt like we really invested in this kid (and his sister). We picked them up for church every week, stopped by the house to say hello, checked in with his teachers and principals and tried to build a lasting relationship with his parents. People even began to ask us if we had adopted these kids. We were consistently present for almost three years and it seems like it didn’t make any difference at all. Today, he turned himself into the police. Most likely, he’ll spend years in prison and probably come out a hardened criminal.
And the worst part is, this isn’t the only incident we’ve been faced with recently. Another girl I’ve tried to mentor ran away from home the day she turned eighteen, moved in with her boyfriend, dropped out of high school and is now struggling to raise a two month old baby.
These kids were in our ministries for years.
And I’ve heard similar stories from a few friends over the past weeks. Kids who are present in the church who end up going the completely opposite way we had hoped for them.
And I have to wonder…
Why isn’t it working?
Why aren’t the things we’re teaching making an impact?
Why is there no life change in the kids who spend years under our influence?
Is it because the church cannot overcome the home environment?
Is it because we spend too much time pinning things on Pinterest rather than pouring out our souls in prayer?
Is it because we no longer know how to engage with the gospel in a way that is life changing?
I don’t know the answers. All I know is that something is not right.
Something is broken.
And it might not be limited to Children’s Ministry. In the last year, our Sunday School class has lost two teachers. Not only did they quit teaching the class. They quit church all together. And maybe even the Christian life.
How does that happen?
Isn’t the gospel supposed to change lives?
I know that God’s time table is often different than ours, but I just have to wonder if we’ve missed something along the way.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you struggle with the same things?