Actually, they’re not hooligans. I just like that word. I like hearing it and saying it. Hooligan. Yes, I’m actually saying the word ‘hooligan’ out loud every time I type it (accompanied by a small manly giggle.)
There’s a group of boys that always hang out at the courtyard of our church. Usually around 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays. And I usually see them because I’m at church around that time.
They just sit and talk about Lord knows what. A couple of them smoke. But they don’t make a mess nor are they disrespectful to the church property.
So here they are today. (I think they’re still out there) and one of them (the one that looks the youngest) is smoking as I pull up to the church.
So I got out of the car and walked toward them. Instinctively (I guess) they started get there things ready to go.
I just said hello and introduced myself to them and got their names. I asked them if I could just ask them a few questions. I guess they had no idea where this was going. And maybe it helped that I looked like their age (they’re all in high school).
I asked them if any of them go to church. None of them did. And I asked them why. They had no idea why. Well, the oldest one of them said that he was agnostic.
I asked them what would bring you guys back to church. (All of them went to church at one point in their life.) And they looked blankly at each other than at me. And almost in unison, shrugged and purty much said, “Don’t know if I’d go back any time soon.”
I asked them if they believed in God. And they all strongly believed that God exist. (One of them looked at me and said, Oh yea! God is real!)
The agnostic boy looked at me and said, I’ve never been religious. I read up on all the other religions and they all seem to point towards the same direction. I believe that there is a “god” but I think we as humans made a mistake in naming it.
That was pretty deep.
Anyway, those guys are really neat and, I didn’t kick them off the church property as they may have thought. I told them to feel free to hangout until whenever and that I’m always here around the same time they were, so I may ask them more questions if we run into each other.
I’m sitting in the office wondering what are some ways to at least introduce the gospel to those type of kids. I mean the real, bonafide Word of God that’s not mixed with church politics that turn off a lot of people.
The mistake many people seem to make (guilty here) is try to bring them to the Church. But doesn’t always work out for the best, does it?
So, it’s all about, I guess, bringing the Church to them. In a language they understand. In a manner they can relate to, without undermining or watering down the gospel.
This is a mission field.
And, to me, the worst missionaries are those who go into a different setting and try to get the ‘indigenous’ people to adapt and accept the missionary’s culture and way of things.
I’m sure I’ll have more opportunities to engage those guys. Hopefully I didn’t permanently scare those kids off. And if I did, I may have just made some older folks in the church happy.
3 thoughts on “Hooligans That Hang Out at the Courtyard of Our Church”
That’s a great story Joseph. I think the relationship you started with these guys is sharing the gospel, or at least laying the groundwork for doing that in more specific ways. I’m really impressed by your missional passion in these conversations.
I don’t know…
Not about the reaching out part… the whole agnostic comment…
I really find no depth in any of the so called “agnostic” philosophies. We made the mistake when we named “god.” O please. Stop repeating semi intellectual drivel that you have been fed by whom ever.
Sorry… pretty sick and tired of the pseudo-intellectual minded people that say they are agnostic and 1) not really know where that comes from, and 2) abuse it dodge the real question.
But other than that I think your approach has merit. I wish I could say the same about most churches. I’d say at the least you get hooligans on your courtyard. I wonder how many churches have made themselves so unapproachable as to where people don’t come 1 mile of it due to which ever preconceived notions that they have about church.
I’m sure as long as you are willing to approach them in the manner that you have, that they will eventually come around. Truth is something that is very hard to ignore.
We have had the same situation of “hooligans” hanging around our church and I have found that the easiest way to share the Gospel with them is to build a relationship with them. People are more inclined to listen when they really trust and respect you.
For a long time it was just merely a “Hi, how are you today?” conversation. But then whenever they saw me they had to give me a hug or for my friend they would do the hand shake thing. After a while I was able to ask other questions to get to know them. I would ask about their families, school, work, music, and sports. I would share with them little pieces of something really cool God was doing in my life or a really good Christian band I thought they would enjoy.
Eventually they gained my trust and began opening up about more personal issues and heartaches they were dealing with. It was in those moments that I would be able to really share Christ with them. They always listened and never argued with me. If I saw them on Wednesday nights I would invite them to class and then to play basketball afterward in the church gym.
And guess what? They came! And they are still coming! And they are bringing their friends with them! They still have a lot of questions and aren’t completely convinced that Jesus is the answer but every week they hear the Word of God and they hear testimonies of how God is working today. I just pray for them and I believe one day they will be the ones reaching out to a lost and hurting community of young people that are all around us!
Build a relatioship with those guys and pray for them everytime you think about them. Trust God and be obedient and He will do the work! God bless!