Try Realism

The Christian Science Monitor carries an article today under the headline "Guard Recruiters try Realism and succeed."

A quote: Whenever potential recruits ask about their chances of being shipped off to Iraq if they enlist, National Guard recruiter Pierre Chatman doesn't sugarcoat it: 100 percent, he tells them.
"We are the military. That's our job," says Houston's top recruiter. "We used to stress protecting the home front - and it was easier to do. But all that has changed."

Remarkably, it's having some success. While active branches have experienced recruiting woes during wartime, the Army National Guard is now seeing its ranks rise for the first time in three years.

K.P. Yohannon's challenging book, "The Road to Reality" offers a similar injunction.

"Why is is that the young people of our churches are given fun and games rather than the challenge of the Great Commission? ...Teens want to test out the ethics and morality of their church and parents to see if it really works. But what are we giving them instead? The standard answer is to hire a youth director to plan parties and trips around the premise: 'You can be a Christian and have fun too!' ...What would happen if instead we treated our youth with total seriousness, exposing them to mission field learning experiences? Opportunities to love and sacrifice for others? To serve on the front lines of the Gospel?"

What hard truth will I expose my students to this week? What challenge will I give them? How honest will I be about what Christ demands of us?

Actually, this week I'm challenging my students to sign up for a game of broomball. But my commitment to this place is that the Gospel will be in everything we do, so Christ will be with us in our fellowship. And I do preach sacrifice and discipline, and if we un-grow (Mike Yaconelli's phrase) because of it, so be it. But the news seems to tell me we won't.

If it works for the Guard and for international missions, it can work for an Episcopal church in the suburbs too.

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