As a student, the last guy I expected to see in my youth group was Mr. Jenkins. He wasn’t the type. Pushing sixty, hard of hearing, and always in a suit. So imagine my surprise when he barged into our group one night and loudly introduced us to his “buddy,” a long-haired kid named Tom.
Now, the town where I grew up was a place where people knew each other. That’s why we stared at Mr. Jenkins when he showed up with Tom. We knew Tom from school — he was one of “those kids.” What’s he doing here? I wondered as they found their seats.
True to form, Mr. Jenkins sat ramrod-straight in a folding chair while Tom sprawled across a couch. His clothing reeked of marijuana and his shaggy hair fell all over his shoulders — and in our conservative church I wasn’t sure which was worse. Tom had been hitchhiking when Mr. Jenkins picked him up, and he still seemed unclear on where he was.
Few of us paid attention that night — we were watching Tom. But Mr. Jenkins was taking everything in. His wheels were turning and his lips were moving in (almost) silent prayer for Tom’s salvation.
Remarkably, the two of them became friends. Mr. Jenkins gave Tom an enormous brown Bible, and Tom carried it everywhere. Over time we welcomed him into our community, and one day he came into relationship with Jesus Christ. Just like that. I learned something that day I’ll never forget: God uses ordinary people to draw youth to Himself. No ministry degrees required and no special gifting necessary. Anyone will do.
Like me, for instance. And you.