This past Saturday I attended the 50th year anniversary celebration of my former church in Rockford Illinios.
People came back from all over the midwest to be part of this reunion.
I served there for six years and have been gone for almost 14, so it was like a time warp for me. All of the kids in the youth group then are now between 27 and 38, so I was interested to see how they’ve all turned out. In several instances I was surprised.
One guy in the group was a skateboarder, who seemed disinterested in anything spiritual. Today he is a missionary working with troubled teens in inner city Chicago. He thanked me for the example of my “open door” which he says helps him today in his ministry. To be honest, I don’t ever recall him ever coming into my office–I had no idea that I had had any effect on him whatsoever.
Another encouragement was a guy who had merely coasted through youth group, never getting too serious. Now after some poor choices and a painful divorce, God has gotten ahold of his life. I didn’t actually get to see him that weekend because he was away at Promise Keepers!
There was a gal in the group back then who struggled so much with depression/suicide that I helped her family do an intervention, sending her out of state for treatment. I was happy to hear that today she is happily married, going to church and seeking God’s direction for her life.
There are other stories I could tell, but I highlighted these three to encourage parents never to give up on their kids. A lot can happen in 14 years. A lack of spiritual interest now doesn’t necessarily mean they will remain that way. And some may need to flounder a bit before fully embracing faith. And some are being impacted by us in ways we can’t perceive yet, but someday may discover.
As Winston Churchhill once said in a speach, “Neva give up. Neva, neva give up.”