Ministers should plan mission carefully

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I read recently where several black ministers were considering visiting troubled black youth and gang members. I first want to applaud them for wanting to get involved. However, having worked with the state of Georgia at the Youth Development Center, I want to ask the ministers to get together and talk about an agenda.

My point is that these young men think they are grown, so I hope the ministers will allow the young men to accept them instead of the ministers trying to impose themselves on the youths.

I also ask that the ministers be aware of the "dress down" idea -- that is, no fancy jewelry or $1,500 Hickey Freeman suits; instead, perhaps an open-collar shirt. In other words, casual attire. This way, the youth will not be so much interested in what is worn, and they can focus on why the ministers are there.

Last, but not least, ministers should remember that these kids know about God, but they have chosen to do other things they think are more important. They should acknowledge these kids' parents in a positive way by saying things such as "Your parents worked hard," and "By you doing what you are doing, it is causing them great shame when people whisper and say 'Ms. So-and-So's son is a gang member.' "

Before departing, ministers should ask the questions: "By meeting with you today, did we accomplish anything? We are planning on making these type meetings a regular occasion. What are your thoughts, guys? Do you want to meet again?" Then ask one of them to conduct the parting prayer.

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Nat the Cat
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Nat the Cat 04/10/10 - 12:43 am
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And then change their diapers

And then change their diapers and kiss the poor little darlings Goodbye!
You have got to be kidding!
And if they knew about God, you wouldn't have to worry about being murdered for what you're wearing, would you? Jeez!
Why don't you try visiting the PARENTS. But then again, it's easier to find the gang members than the parents.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 04/10/10 - 02:09 am
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Just knowing about God

Just knowing about God doesn't count for much one way or another. I thought he was pretty clear that these bangers had simply decided to go another way than God's way.

GGpap
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GGpap 04/10/10 - 02:41 am
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Nat the Cat, in response to

Nat the Cat, in response to your sarcasm concerning the LTE writer's comment, "Last, but not least, ministers should remember that these kids know about God, but they have chosen to do other things they think are more important." I would propose that to know "about" god and "to know god" are two entirely different concepts. How many times have we heard the statement that "kids need to told about sex when they reach puberty (or sooner), and how many times have we smiled at the naiveté of that statement? We all know that "kids" know a lot about sex a long time before we finally realize that fact; but still, they don't really "know" what they need to know about sex. In many homes the child hears about god by the time its first x-mas rolls around; and don't forget Easter, and the "in god we trust" on the nickels, dimes and quarters they spend for chips and coke. I believe the advice given by Mr. Diggs is right on point; even though the kids may not "know god"---their choice---the kids need intelligent, mature guidance on how to live in society today---not fairy tale promises of a better life in the hereafter. GGpap

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 04/10/10 - 03:28 am
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GGpap, it's too bad you don't

GGpap, it's too bad you don't know enough about Christianity to realize it's not simply about "pie in the sky, bye and bye". If you bothered to get informed about it, you'd realize the biggest part of everything written in the both the Old and New Testaments is about how to live happy, successful, fulfilling lives as mature, responsible men and women.

It's not about "being good" and getting heaven as a reward. It's about loving the One who made you and learning how to be the most evolved, perfect expression of yourself that you possibly can be, and how to avoid the pitfalls and distractions that prevent that.

Who in their right mind wouldn't want that?

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 04/10/10 - 05:05 am
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This part of the letter is

This part of the letter is troubling: "My point is that these young men think they are grown, so I hope the ministers will allow the young men to accept them instead of the ministers trying to impose themselves on the youths."

Youths who think they know it all are in no frame of mind to repent. People don't turn to God until they realize that they've made a mess of their lives and that they need the Lord's guidance.

A key part of turning to God is giving ministers the respect they're due; after all, if they're true to their calling, they're God's men. Another key part is submitting to God's will; for Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). He even prayed, "Not my will, but thine be done" (Matthew 26:39).

deekster
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deekster 04/10/10 - 06:40 am
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I would hope that these

I would hope that these ministers would be prepared. That they will not simply deliver the same "old powerless human sudo psycology" presented in government schools. "A changed heart is necessary for a changed life". Acceptance of a "higher authority" for moral standards. "He that cometh to GOD must believe that HE is and that HE is the rewarder of them that diligently seek HIM. The simple message of salvation in Jesus Christ is the "power to change one life at a time". It is not an easy choice for youth today. They are presented with an almost "hopeless life" of "servitude to the federal government in exchange for entitlement crumbs". The hope of a joyful, productive, meaningfull life and life eternal has been replaced by "grab all you can as fast as you can". "This is all there is". If you can't be Michale Jordan or Whitney Houston, your life is over?

justus4
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justus4 04/10/10 - 07:23 am
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The article writer is
Unpublished

The article writer is offering some obvious good points, but sadly those points will only get U through a session with the boys. It's way more difficult than that, but good luck with those efforts. The real problems are institutionalized and these boys will become men who are institutionalized. They have been thrown away by a throw-a-way society and the answers will come from the prison system itself. Yes, going in and talking might save ONE, but it's the masses that are populating the prisons - that's what gotta be addressed- the masses. And making the point to start going to church is just sooooooooooo tired. In fact, many believe THAT'S part of the problem. These churches aren't doing jack! Why not combine ALL 700 little churhes into ONE real church and create an agenda? Ha! Every so-called "minister" would object because of their small egos and so-called "leadership" again, Ha! And so, the children suffer, the adults yap, and the entire community continues to rots away. But some will survive, and for those few, we can only hope that they keep going and never look back.

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 04/10/10 - 08:34 am
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Justus, when you describe

Justus, when you describe these youths as thrown away by a throw-away society, you seem at odds with the letter writer, who said, "... these kids know about God, but they have chosen to do other things they think are more important." The youths, then, are willfully rebelling against God; therefore, reconciling them to God should be the top priority, and it will entail convincing them that it is they, not God, who are in the wrong.

You propose combining some 700 local churches into one real church with an agenda. Trouble is, history shows that not all went well when all churches were of the same organization. Abuses necessitated splits such as the schism of 1025 and the subsequent protests by Martin Luther and others.

slippery 25
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slippery 25 04/10/10 - 08:43 am
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The boys need long term hope

The boys need long term hope to make it in outside world. The more they are exposed to positive role models the better there chances. We all should be thankful for the ministers efforts.

Jane18
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Jane18 04/10/10 - 09:03 am
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Justus4,"thrown away by a

Justus4,"thrown away by a throw away society", would that be their parent(s)? GGPap, what makes you use small letters when you are referring to GOD? You do this all the time. HE is not an idol to us, and when you type it your way, that is what you are calling HIM. Pitiful, just pitiful, that's what you are.

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 04/10/10 - 09:05 am
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Slippery 25, these youths

Slippery 25, these youths need to worry about more than this world. This life isn't all there is. Eternity awaits us all, so I hope whoever ministers to these youths will help prepare them to meet God. As for a positive role model, no one comes close to the Lord Jesus Christ.

WW1949
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WW1949 04/10/10 - 09:26 am
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Justus, I think most people

Justus, I think most people say start going to church because most in church are fine upstanding people with good moral character and just being around them may help some of the wayward children. However they are mostly products of parents who do not care and think that society owes them and the children. When they have this type of upbringing it most likely will be hard to turn them around. AS the government increases so called "entitlements" it will probably increase the amount of lost children. Nothing but a change in attitude and a reduction in the so called "free" money will change that. People respect what they earn but not what is given to them by those that work hard.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 04/10/10 - 12:19 pm
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Fundi_armin, re: your 5:05

Fundi_armin, re: your 5:05 post: the point Mr. Diggs was making was that it would be a good idea, as in more likely to be successful, if the ministers approached these guys with respect, simply because these guys believe they are men and therefore deserve respect, whether they actually do or not.

The whole point is to have them listen and consider what's being said to them. If they get preached at by people who seem to them nothing but a bunch of self-righteous do-gooders, how much thought do you think they will give to what those ministers say? You reach people by approaching them where they live.

Ever hear the expression "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"? Mr. Diggs is simply trying to make sure the ministers bring honey to these flies.

disssman
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disssman 04/10/10 - 02:01 pm
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First off if the ministers do

First off if the ministers do actually go visit gang members I would suggest they go armed! This is especially important if they are wearing their bling. At least have some comfortable running shoes on that you bought at a cut rate store (no high bucks nikes). And don't forget to be very respectful to the little bums and treat them as if they are the most important people in society, so they won't have a persecution complex. Wouldn't want to tell them exactly what they are, they may be mad. And last make sure the radio is turned to max baboom, baboom, baboom and your car has bicycle tires and rims, so they won't think you are an outsider.

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 04/10/10 - 09:42 pm
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Fiat_Lux, God's men or

Fiat_Lux, God's men or ministers must recognize that they are God's messengers. The important thing is for them to relay whatever truth or warning God wants relayed. Their success will depend less on whether the youth accept the message than on whether it's faithfully delivered.

The ministers shouldn't come across as "holier than thou"; after all, we're all sinners in need of saving through Jesus Christ. But the ministers will have to make the youth realize the seriousness of their sinfulness and the eternal consequences of their failure to repent.

If you've been around people who are sincerely repentant, you know they don't mind being preached at or even being justly punished. A good example is the repentant, crucified thief. After hearing the unrepentant thief rail at Christ, this thief replied: "'Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man [Jesus] hath done nothing amiss.' And he said unto Jesus, 'Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.' And Jesus said unto him, 'Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise'" (Luke 23:40-43).

If these youth ever come to hate their sin and regret the harm they've caused to other people, they'll understand and accept their punishment. They'll also seek forgiveness from their victims and, if possible, make restitution. Until then, they'll be a danger to themselves and others, including us.

elizabethwalker
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elizabethwalker 04/10/10 - 09:59 pm
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I agree something got to be

I agree something got to be done about all of our baby girls and boy, our young girls got to stop having babies for these young boys that has no education and out their selling drugs or not working. Theie is a great need for men in general to step up to the plate and help to win our young men back from the street. All black young men are not bad, help save one at a time. I have a 17 year old grandson and I am scared for him ,Ipray every day and night for him. He live in Pepperridge and go to Bulter. I am a concern grandmother and one greatgrand mother. God Bless Elizabeth

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 04/10/10 - 10:38 pm
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Fundi-Armin, I don't actually

Fundi-Armin, I don't actually need to be preached at myself. And I can pretty much guarantee that if some one comes across with as heavy a hand as you are showing, it probably will simply push these young guys even further away, ie, as was Mr. Diggs exact point.

You can't send a 10-ton truck over a 2-ton bridge without damaging or destroying the bridge. And it takes mutual respect and a lot of trust to build a 10-ton bridge. But if God can reach someone speaking through the mouth of a donkey, he can certainly use a minister of the Gospel, no matter how obtuse or pompous he might seem to these kids.

Personally, I believe in being as prepared as possible to be useful as an instrument of Grace. I also know success doesn't ultimately depend on me, but I do think the Almighty expects me to use my brain and whatever useful information he sends my way.

Mr. Diggs offers useful information because he knows these kids. IMO, it would be pretty stupid to simply ignore him.

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 04/10/10 - 11:49 pm
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Fiat_Lux, I wish I could

Fiat_Lux, I wish I could believe that Mr. Diggs' proposal will work. I don't expect it to work, though I'll gladly acknowledge my error if it does.

Mr. Diggs says he used to work at the Youth Development Center. Unfortunately, state government employees must use a secular approach, lest they generate lawsuits about the establishment of a state religion. Today's high rate of recidivism convinces me that the secular approach is inadequate and that any minister whom God leads to meet with these youth ought to follow God's instructions about the situation.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 04/11/10 - 01:45 am
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Fundi-Armin, I highly

Fundi-Armin, I highly recommend you look into the Kairos ministry in Georgia prisons. The impact has been impressive and life-changing for inmates who take part. At the prisons that I know about, there always is a waiting list of inmates wanting to do Kairos.

If you want to know more about Kairos, either google it or let me know. My contact info is located on my profile page.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 04/11/10 - 01:50 am
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Actually, here is a link for

Actually, here is a link for the program in Georgia prisons. Apparently the one targeting youthful offenders is called "Torch".

http://www.kairosofgeorgia.org/

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 04/13/10 - 02:08 am
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Fiat_Lux, I apologize for not

Fiat_Lux, I apologize for not noticing and answering your last two posts. Kairos looks like a fine organization that recognizes the importance of prayer. If you and I like Kairos, we may agree with each other much more than someone might think from reading our exchanges.

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