Back in October, 2007, a blogger posted on the Spectrum blog about questionable youth ministry tactics. He was jumping off of a New York Times article about church youth groups using the violent video game, “Halo.” That’s a rather shocking methodology for evangelism. I don’t see how it can be excused.
But I don’t see how anyone can compare that with another program cited in that post, Jesus Loves Jeans. That is a program of youth discipleship developed here in Houston by three pastors, Kendall Turcios, Jose Pagan, and Josue Murillo. It starts with a retreat for youth, to invite them into discipleship and to reach out to their friends with the good news of Jesus. There are several weeks of follow-up sessions, to prepare them for an evangelistic series, to which they invite their friends. The evangelistic series is run in Spanish and then in English, and the youth are involved (Kendall and Jose preach). The sermons proclaim the unconditional love of Jesus for youth who are struggling (various kinds of jeans are used as metaphors for different lives and struggles). They are invited to accept him, to open themselves to his transforming love, to walk as disciples.
The author of that post hasn’t attended “Jesus Loves Jeans.” Neither have any of those who commented on the webpage.
I have. So have my kids. My son was baptized during the Houston series, after Kendall told a remarkable story about a chance meeting between two young people in the Harris County Inmate Processing Center, one of whom (my son) was wearing a “Jesus Loves Jeans” t-shirt. Both were baptized together that night. (You can read the full story here).
I will stick with Paul’s words:
What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. Philippians 1:18.