During a recent Genesis middle school meeting, I asked the kids about what they look for in an ideal pastor. On the off chance Thomas needed to go on a quick impromptu theological mission to Barcelona and we needed a short-term replacement, what would you look for in a candidate?
There was a moment’s hesitation and then the qualifications came flying in. “They need to be nice.” “They should be a dog person.” “They should show us how to be Christian.” “I wanna be happy to see them.” “They should wear bow-ties.” “They should remember people’s names.”
Later, I mentioned to Carolyn that one of the girls pointed out that everyone had just ended up describing Thomas.
After a little dip in the conversation, one of them said “I guess, they just need to be a good Christian.”
“What’s a good Christian?”
“If you come to church, if you pray, and if you’re nice to everyone. You also have to do nice things.”
“Do you feel like you’re a good Christian?”
*Laughs* “I don’t know. Sometimes, I guess.”
I find middle schoolers are an easier puzzle to solve than high schoolers. Middle schoolers look for role models in their lives and are quick to point out hypocrisy and inconsistencies.
In an atmosphere like that, it is of the utmost importance than we as a community raise our own standards of stewardship, acceptance, and love to the heights our young ones expect in us.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen short (well, I can but Sarah says this has to come in under 20,000 words) but I do my utmost to scramble back because there’s a small group of children who think I’m better than I am. And they feel that way about us.
So I’m going to try to be the most Christ-like versions of myself. Even if I don’t feel it all the time, I’m going to put my best foot forward. I hope you’ll join me. Because young eyes are watching.