The Best “Youth Pastor” I Ever Had

pastor-micah-marshall-THE-REFUGE

He was the complete opposite of this guy.

You might be surprised to learn that the best youth pastor I ever had was not a youth pastor at all. At least, not in the official sense. He was simply a church deacon who taught the teen Sunday school class.

Don would have never been hired to lead a high-profile youth ministry. He was not what today’s church administrators would call hip, cool or “relevant.” He didn’t wear skinny jeans. He didn’t play guitar or have a tattoo. He probably couldn’t pronounce the words ‘latte’ or ‘espresso,’ let alone tell you what they mean. He couldn’t name a single contemporary Christian band. He had never set foot on a college campus, Christian or otherwise. His wife wasn’t a former cheerleader with a perky personality or a Cover Girl smile. In fact, the man himself was in his early 40s, rotund, with a slow Southern drawl and neatly trimmed beard. He wore the same clothes every Sunday: a white dress shirt, black or brown pants and plain black shoes. He didn’t own a cell phone, an iPad, or even an email address.

Yet this extremely reserved, humble, down-to-earth deacon of a backwater Southern church uttered seven words that likely saved me from a lifetime of pain and poor decisions: Continue reading

The Problem with Porn

He’s already seen it.

Porn has been called “America’s #1 addiction.” And it’s not hard to see why:

1. This year, researchers in Canada had to cancel a study on the effects of porn after they couldn’t find a single young man who hadn’t viewed porn for their control group. Their initial search revealed that, on average, young men first view porn at the age of 10!

2. Statistics show that at least half of Christian men (including pastors) view porn on a regular basis.

3. Approximately 1/3 of Christian women access porn regularly; 28 percent of all self-reporting porn addicts are women.

4. Twenty-nine percent of born-again Christians believe it is acceptable to watch sexually explicit movies, yet nearly 60 percent of pastors say porn addiction is the most damaging issue within their congregations.

5. In 2003, 2/3 of divorce lawyers reported that for more than half of their cases involving Internet issues, couples cited online pornography as a significant factor in their divorce. Continue reading