A Single Con
It’s been almost 2 years ago now that Tasha and I resigned from the church where I served as youth pastor in Henderson, NC, (New Sandy Creek Baptist Church) to move to Charlotte, and launch our ministry. Those 4 years at the Creek were great days for us. The people there loved us as if we had grown up there. We still consider it our home church–a place that holds a ton of memories–things that we saw God do in a group of young people that were hungry for God to move in their lives. My friend Daniel Atkins is serving there now, and the youth group has nearly doubled in size, and mostly through kids coming to Christ, getting on fire for the Lord, and dragging their lost friends there kicking and screaming.
Just before we left the Creek, the youth group presented me with a single converse tennis shoe signed by the students. (where the other one ended up? not sure) It was a gift that was much more than a necessary evil, or something the kids felt obligated to do. It was more than that. It said something about who they were as people. What they valued. Who they valued. The fact that the shoe was an emblem of their world, their identity, their social makeup, and one that somehow I had tripped and fallen into, or had simply been somehow accepted into. Like I had warped into the past and become one of them. Their equal. A fallen, yet forgiven individual in desperate need of God’s grace. Needing so desperately for God to write His holy name on my depraved heart–graven on the dark walls of my heart like the ink on the red canvas of the con that I now display proudly in my home for all my guests to observe and ponder as to its origin and meaning. I sincerely doubt that such symbolism was implied in the single red converse tennis shoe given me by my friends at the Creek, yet it nevertheless contains such meaning for me. Because I could see the intention of the gift in their eyes. I was proud to be their youth pastor. And still am.