Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mike the youth leader

Mike was a funny youth leader. Most youth leaders fit into at least one of three categories.

  1. Seminary graduates who haven't gotten jobs as pastors, and are trying to use the job as a stepping stone

  2. Parents who want their kids to be able to hang out with other kids, but not unchaperoned. I've been to youth group meetings where there were more parents than kids.

  3. Burned out druggies who became Christians. These are the best youth leaders, because they tell stories about drugs and promiscuity and living under a bridge; these stories always end with, 'But that was before I was a Christian.'.

Mike didn't have a crazy troubled past that I can recall; he had been married, but divorced, he no kids. He just cared about teenagers. He was middle aged, and didn't have a beard. He kept talking about how he'd been at a Newsboys concert before they made it big.

He was our youth leader when the hip contemporary church was still young, so there were about five kids in youth group. Four of us were well-behaved kids of well-behaved church people, but the fifth kid, on any given week, was some kid from a tough home life who Mike had befriended, because this kid needed a grown-up friend who was stable.

We ate a lot of Doritos and ice cream, and we drank a lot of Mountain Dew. Somehow, I'd always get to sleep on time. I don't know why I'm so much more sensitive to caffeine now than I was when I was 14.

After a couple of years at the hip contemporary church, Mike moved to a house in the middle of the woods in Virginia. He was able to hunt on his new property.

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