Youth Ministry, Bus Ministry, and the Children Church Ministry
I decided to cut down on the activities and have more Bible studies. That didn’t go over very well at all. I started a Sunday Evening Bible University. That went well. I think three showed up.
I remember I was rather uncompromising. We had an roller skating event, and I requested that the girls not wear jeans (which I had been told was church policy.) Near disaster for sure. Then the music was not to be rock and roll. That was really bad. Parents really got on my case.
Our Sunday Morning Sr Hi class was really neat. Mr Charlie Cox was just wonderful in leading the singing, and was a good teacher and Thelma Martin was just wonderful singing. Really the program was first class. I enjoyed teaching from the Bible each week.
We had the "Cross and the Switchblade" motion picture one Sunday, we had 95 youth that Sunday. One of my last Sunday’s there, we put on "Star Wars....." The Great Galactic Adventure" That week we had over one hundred and forty kids.
We had a great baseball team. I think. This was the college and career class young people. Andy did a great job. We had a Word of Life Basketball Tournament, and we won first place, local, and then went to State. First class event.
I am told that many of the kids just didn’t get it. They were not ready to hear spiritual teaching. I wonder why, they had had Life Action Group come. They didn’t like the kind of activities that included the spiritual. Games and play they loved. They were not into the spiritual at all.
One of the contractors in the church, built for Charity and I a new house That had never happened before.. . And before the grass grew in the yard we had the youth over for an activity. It had rained and when they left, the new carpet was full of muddy footprints. But our hearts were with the youth, and we enjoyed them coming to our home. One of the members helped us get a car. What was really great was Andy would say "Charles, all staff can have free food at my Dairy Bar." Bill said "Charles, staff can have their dry cleaning done free." And a carpenter and his son built me a beautiful book shelves in my office at the church. What a place for sure. What a group of magnificent members.
What a wonderful staff of people...Gene and Linda Bandy -- what a couple-- we love them and their kids. I understand Gene and Linda are pastoring in Arlington Texas, now. .
I enjoyed preaching on occasion at Calvary. One of my best original messages I preached at Calvary. I appreciated preaching on the pastor’s radio program when he went on vacation.
Apparently Willie was under pressure from some few parents about the style of ministry that we were having. I will introduce here, parents have always been the number one cause of trouble in our ministry.
I could write a whole article on this subject. PARENTS DISRUPT THE EFFORT OF WORKING WITH THEIR YOUTH. From our first ministry with youth, in 1964, a parent went to dad, and complained about something I said to her daughter. My dad, said, "I am sure Charles had a good reason to say what he did to her." That slowed down the complaints.
On more than several cases, teens would later say to me, "Charles, I know my parents were upset about your methods of working with us, but, you were right and it was needed, thank you." That statement has been in about every church where I was pastor or youth pastor. My son Eric was thinking about youth ministry, but when he had to deal with parents, he thought maybe he shouldn’t be a youth pastor.
Sensitive preachers and sensitive parents have been my demise. So whether in church life, the public school or at work, or playing sports, parents really get annoyed at those who are working with their kids. I remember coaching T-Ball..... parents. I was a Juvenile Probation Officer, and parents were the number one problem with their kids. Coaches, teachers, youth pastors, juvenile probation officers. etc, really have a job when it comes to working with children. And I have been all those people. I have four children, and believe me I was not always a good parent when I thought my kids were getting a bad deal.
It’s very dangerous to be a Youth Pastor, believe me. Parents and Pastors. If one doesn’t get you the other will. If you offend a Pastor’s wife or one of his children, you need to pack your clothes and leave.
I recall being invited into the Pastor’s office one day. I thought, " I have been here a year, I might be getting a raise." When I got in the office, the Pastor said "Charles, don’t you think it’s time for you to be a pastor of your own church?" What a surprise.
I walked down the steps and out the door, to our car, and said "Charity, would you believe, Willie wants us to leave." We left in the next few weeks without a word to anyone. I am not sure if anyone had a clue why we left. You did that in those days. But since that time, I have never permitted myself to allow a pastor or a church to do that to me again. If I have done wrong I will admit it and take the responsibility, but when I have done my best to fulfill my responsibilities as a pastor or youth pastor, I will not and have not left without saying why.
Just this last year one grown lady who had been in our youth class said to me, "Charles, why did you leave our church?" "I have wondered for all these years." I told her.
I have on purpose and at the request of Charity in these posts tried to leave out the parts that have been hurtful. I have tried to protect the guilty. I have tried to emphasize the good parts of the ministry, because I believe we have had a reasonably remarkable ministry.
I certainly have not desired that the Lord would have changed the events and churches where we have ministered by his sovereignty or providence. Too many of our dear friends have come as a result of the ministries that the Lord has allowed us to have. I would not be willing to give up anyone of them.
Well, maybe Alan and Angie and the three boys.....Just kidding! Let me tell you about them.... Alan was the one who came to the Bible Studies in Connersville and he went with me to the Youth Rallies. After graduating from college, Alan came to our church where I pastored at FBC in Altoona, before he was married. After he was married to Angie, and before any of their children were born, they were coming to minister to our church. More folks were saved and believers were strengthened as a result of Alan and Angie’s ministry than any other evangelist, in the sixteen years I was there. They have been faithful to the Lord and ministry for all these years, and are steadfast in their resolve to serve the Lord.
So what if you have a little hardship, lose your new home, have to leave your friends, have no place to move, no money coming in, no job, have no clue where you are going and what you are going to do. ... and have to leave without anyone really knowing why you left.
*Charity’s note: The Connersville newspaper carried a daily question & answer column by Billy Graham. At the end of our year in Connersville, Dr. Graham answered one lady’s question with wisdom that has encouraged me many times over the years. He told her that her security was not in where she lived, or in her husband’s income or where he worked. Her security rested in God Himself, who has promised to supply all her need, according to his riches in glory, by Christ Jesus, her Lord......and to that I say,"Amen. God is faithful."
Would you like to know what we did after leaving Connersville, Indiana.... you won’t believe it...
Written Posted by Charles E. Whisnant September 15, 2006 ( an all day project, finished at 10:00 p.m.) Checked by Charity at 8:00 p.m. Will be posted as part two on Tuesday September 18th .
Charity will check this on Saturday. She worked 12 hours at the Bakery today. She is tired, resting, and will be up at 4:30 a.m. in the morning to go to work.)