GETTING BACK TO NURTURE
October 1, 1988
Twenty years ago, singing, clapping, Bible-studying youth regularly packed out Calvary Chapel's enormous tent in Costa Mesa, California. Chuck Smith, their pastor, helped give birth to the Jesus People movement that redirected thousands of lives, young and old, and changed the face of American Christianity. But after years of nurturing a church-cum-denomination, Chuck felt the need for some personal refreshment. He found it right where he had begun.
In the sixties and early seventies, the most successful and rewarding part of my ministry was my Monday-evening classes for young people. I'd sit and talk with them from the Word of God, and kids started getting excited about Jesus and about serving the Lord. We'd have an amateur-hour kind of concert in which the kids shared their music. Out of it came the talent we eventually showcased through Maranatha! Music.
The ministry grew, and other agendas pushed at my time. I got so busy I eventually dropped the Monday-night studies, letting others handle them. I was essentially out of that ministry.
A couple of years ago, however, I looked around and realized many of the "kids" I had nurtured in the first wave had teen-age kids of their own. I'd been so busy developing their parents that I had neglected the young people.
So I decided to become involved again with the Monday-night studies. I patterned the evenings as I had in the sixties, and the ministry has caught on once more. We have from fifteen to eighteen hundred kids on Monday evenings. It's exciting; a whole new generation is getting turned on.
A while back, a couple of high school boys came up to me and said, "We're interested in going into the ministry. Can you talk with us about it?"
"I'd love to," I said, and I set up an appointment. ...