Last night I was humbled!
In the main I enjoy a really privileged ministry – the church that I love to pastor is incredibly supportive and responsive to my teaching, and I get a very similar response at the vast majority of church, youth and student events that I speak at too. I even get regular requests from inmates at Parc Prison for me to come back in and preach. I have had the joy of seeing many people respond to the gospel over the years and it remains one of the biggest buzzes that I know!
I guess I might have been in danger of letting complacency sneak into my ministry…which is why God sent me to preach at VJ last night!
VJ (Vintage Jesus) is the monthly youth event that is run by my very good friends at Christchuch, Newport that has been running for several years now. It’s a high energy youth extravaganza that blends crazy inflatable fun and sports with a gospel presentation. It has been steadily growing in size since it started and last night there must have been over 300 there – a bizarre mix of young people from churches all over South Wales and gangs of youth travelling in on buses from the numerous council estates around Newport.
When it came to the gospel bit I started by performing one of my new raps and that bit went OK. However, as I proceeded to launch into my message it became clear that large sections of the crowd didn’t actually give a stuff about what I was talking about! There was laughing, jeering and general disinterest at different points throughout my talk and it was a real battle to get to the finish line. When I finished I felt that I had been through a war. I was exhausted! I was encouraged by the young people and leaders who approached me at the end to thank me (one young girl was apparently deeply impacted), though I think it was generally more congratulations for having not given up!
To be honest though, I couldn’t help but feel broken-hearted by the sheer number of young people who simply had no interest in the gospel and no relationship with Jesus. Young people headed for hell. As they bolted out of their chairs before I’d even said “Amen” to go back to their games, drinks and socializing, my heart was convicted by the need to pray more, love deeper and place my confidence in the God of the gospel and not my own skills and experience in delivering it!
Like I said I felt humbled and I think that’s probably where I need to stay because:
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4v6)
NB – Please do pray for VJ and Christchurch – they’re doing an awesome job in reaching some of the roughest kids in Newport, as well as graciously offering an awesome resource to the churches of South Wales for their youth for free! Pray that God would bless them with grace, wisdom and above all HIs aweosme salvation!