This is funny. My first two youth pastors that had a positive impact on me are named Paul. What’s funnier is they worked at the same church. What’s even funnier is that I didn’t really see eye to eye with Paul McCart while I was in high school. He did some silly things. While I won’t go into details, swirlies were involved. Paul also betrayed a group of us guys regarding a pretty big thing. You see, we had this joke about Frogs. I can’t tell you what our intentions goals were, but we had this killer inside joke. It had to do with girls. We had this joke for about 2 years…and it was kept a secret. You can tell we weren’t girls. But I digress.
On a missions trip to Mexico one summer, Paul caught wind of a practical joke headed his way. I’m not sure if it was firecrackers or duct tape (both pretty common pranks for us in high school), but Paul turned sissy on us and offered to trade this group of girls the meaning of our frog with what they new of the prank. Sissy. Flat out.
We were steamed.
This was probably Paul’s largest little girl moment. And we let him have it. I still call him a sissy for it because we’ve since reconciled. But talk about 30 pieces of silver…ouch.
I used to make fun of Paul for being bald. Oops. My bad.
If there was all of this descent, why on Earth is he elected into my own personal Hall of Fame? Good question. Paul instilled in me the idea of a personal devotion to God. We created something called the Jackhammer to hold each other accountable for reading our Bible. I’m not sure it was the best method, but it worked for us in out early high school years. For two years, our small group of 9th and 10th grade guys learned about reading the Bible, prayer, and living a life that’s worth sharing with other people. We skirted around too many issues, but at the time, we didn’t bother to think about that. I think that too often youth groups devalue a personal quiet time and miss out helping kids get equipped with scripture. Does my time with God look different now than 15 years ago? (Crap it’s been a long time). Sure it does. Is my faith different? Sure. But the foundation was built somewhat early and somebody was there to help me learn, to walk with me, to hold me up when I stumbled and keep in check when I got too proud. Thanks, Paul. And just wait, we’ll still find a way to TP you after all these years, even if you live in New York. Be afraid…be very afraid…