When I graduated from high school, a Christian university was my choice. They had a hockey team there, and I wanted to study the Bible. My life had changed so much since my faith came alive as a 16-year-old. My time at this university was outstanding! I grew in the gospel and learned much. Upon graduation, a church invited me to become their youth pastor. I had big dreams of helping these teens understand and live out the reality that all Christians are sent people. Leading by example, I launched myself into the fabric of this small midwestern town. As a football coach at the local high school, I was the designated driver on weekends for the coaching staff when they drank to much after a big victory. I was constantly in the homes of not yet believers. The culture in this little town fascinated me and I was thrilled to witness God do some amazing things. However, it wasn’t long before pious eyebrows were raised at the church. This is when it hit me: High walls. The church had erected extremely high walls. Protected within these walls was a completely separate culture.
This Christian culture had its own language, its own priorities, even its own air! It became apparent early on that my job, as understood by the church, was to perch safely on top of the walls so as to not be contaminated and yell down into the doomed world below the good news of Jesus. Of course, if anyone called out for a rope, I could happily throw one down, hoist them up, and toss them into the Christian culture behind the safety of the walls. More questions began to arise: Was the church supposed to be this way? When Jesus said “As the father has sent me into the world so have I sent you” was he thinking safety ropes, high walls, and separate uncontaminated cultures? The unsettledness of the soul continued to grow.