The Best “Youth Pastor” I Ever Had

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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