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  • Writer's pictureJack Hager

>Why I Am Still a Youth Guy


I’ve wrapped up the last year of summer camp for 2009, with my 20th consecutive year at “Korean Kamp” in Quakertown, Pa.

Twenty weeks of speaking to mostly Korean/Americans. Somewhere around 180 weeks total since my first camp speaking in 1979. Thirty-one years of full-time, vocational (primarily) youth ministry.

Why do I do it?

Fundamental answer: God has called, equipped, and enabled me to so do.

Further answer: I love students, and I am thrilled that I get to try to influence them for Jesus and His gospel. And so many (and it gets worse every year) come from “good” churches and yet are very ignorant regarding the basics of the faith.

For whatever reason (and, yes, I’ve got a few dozen opinions!), most professing Christian teens have no assurance of their salvation. There is a mixed-up heap of thinking “since I prayed ‘the prayer’ (which is found no where in Scripture) I’m ‘in’ no matter what” blended with “if I sin I must not be a Christian at all.”

Why? They are all too often not told to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling,” and don’t understand that it is “God who is at work within (them) both to desire to do and do His good pleasure.”

They are all-too-often ignorant of the purpose of the book of First John, “that you may know that you have eternal life.”

They are all-too-often given lists of do-and-don’t, rather than challenged to “present (their) bodies as living sacrifices.” Some are challenged to focus on short-term mission trips while forgetting their full-time mission field is their home, their school, their community.

They are encouraged to read magazines and books about the Book, but not exhorted to read the Book (nor given practical training in how to so do).

All too often emotional messages are climaxed by a “every head bowed, every eye closed” invitation that, if responded to, results in a five-minute “counseling” session that produces far too many “decisions” that don’t last rather than disciples who do last.

So as long as the Lord God continues to open doors of service…whether from pulpits or camp stages or one-on-ones or jails or schools or….whatever…I’ll keep being grateful I get to do what I get to do, and will try to preach/teach/model the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Am I older-than-dirt? Yup. But I fully intend to go out as a (primarily) youth guy.

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