What Would Jesus Say?
by Mike Yaconelli
Me: "Hey, Jesus!"
Me: "I'm a youth worker."
Jesus: "I know. I'm Jesus-remember?"
Me: "Okay. Okay. But...um...why did you make me do youth ministry?"
Jesus: "I didn't 'make' you do youth ministry, I called you."
Me: "Yeah, right. Called might as well be the same as made. I mean, you made
it so I wouldn't be happy doing anything else. You ruined all the other
Jesus: "You're welcome."
Me: (sigh) "Here's the deal: If you wanted me to do this youth worker thing,
you must think youth ministry is pretty important."
Jesus: "I do."
Me: "Well, how come the adults in church don't think it's that important?
And have you looked at the pay scale lately? We're always at the bottom of
the priority list."
Jesus: "I can relate to that."
Me: "And all they want me to be is a recreation director. You know...plan
nice activities and keep their kids from drinking, doing drugs, and getting
Jesus: "They think youth ministry is about making young people nice?"
Me: "Well, yeah. I mean, they think you're a nice guy and everything-and
they want their kids to be like you."
Jesus: "Look, these parents think I'm a nice idea. They think I care about
what they care about. They want me to be an enhancement to their
lifestyles-and they don't want me making their kids uncomfortable with their
lifestyles. Basically they think I died on a cross to help their kids get
good SAT scores, be captains of football teams and cheerleading squads, and
have nice lives. They think I want to help their children become good
Me: "I didn't think Jesus would say 'Yuck!'"
Jesus: "It's a Greek word."
Me: "Oh...but aren't Christians supposed to be nice?"
Jesus: "You think I died on a cross to make people nice? You think I want to
be relegated to the status of motivational speaker? Listen, I don't even
like football, and I definitely don't like nice people. Look at my
disciples! Talk about loud, obnoxious, rude, flaky-hey, these guys were
anything but nice. Remember when 'Mr. Nice Guy' John wanted me to send fire
down on a little Samaritan village because they wouldn't let us stay for the
"Start telling parents that their sons and daughters should take a year
after high school and do missions in South Africa and see how long you last.
Tell them it isn't a good decision to make their kids go to soccer camp
instead of church camp and see how supportive they'll be. Truth is, I came
to ruin people's lives-just like I ruined yours. I came to turn people's
lives upside down. Remember all that stuff I said about being a sword and
turning parents against children? I wasn't kidding."
Me: "But if I let you start ruining kids' lives, we might lose some of
Me: "How can you say 'good'?! Look, I'm beginning to wonder if you're really
Me: "Why? Because everybody knows youth ministry is about reaching as many
students as possible. We've been trying to reach every student for Christ by
the year 2000! I mean, this year we're going to have rallies and crusades
nationwide with more than 100,000 kids at each of them. We're going to link
the entire world by satellite. We're going to have the largest crowds ever!"
Jesus: "I don't like crowds."
Me: "You don't like crowds?!? What are you talking about?!"
Jesus: "I don't like crowds. Go back and read my story. Yes, I had crowds
from time to time, but most of the people in them just wanted more wine,
food, and power. Then-when I didn't give them what they wanted-they killed
me. Nope. I don't like crowds. Besides, my best work was done one on one.
You know...the woman at the well, the crazy guy, the blind man, the
prostitute. That's when I did my best stuff."
Me: "But...um...that isn't very efficient."
Jesus: "I know. I don't believe in efficiency."
Jesus: "Let me put it this way. I believe in making disciples one at a time.
Very slow stuff."
Me: "But Jesus, I thought you were into 'fast'."
Jesus: "Nope. I'm about slow. And small."
Me: "Oh, man. If I keep listening to you, I'm going to be fired!"
Jesus: "Good for you."
Me: "Good for me?!? Uh, Jesus, it's not that easy!"
Jesus: "I didn't say it would be easy. I said it would be hard."
Me: "But hard is...well...hard."
Jesus: "Tell me about it."