Is faith a resource for you?

I learned this most useful and disarming question from a good friend of mine many years ago. I use it all the time. It’s a door opener and not a slammer. On a hunch, I asked the question yesterday to a street youth and this conversation ensued:

“Chuck, can I ask you a question?” I was facing a 20 year old male whom I see about once a week. He has a place to stay and goes to school to become an artist. But he comes to see me once a week or so.

“Sure he said.” I explained, “It’s a little bit of an odd question. Is that OK?” (This is a good technique for working with the street youth. Always ask permission for your nosy questions.) “Go ahead!” he replied.

“Is faith a resource for you?” He began to smile. “Oh, yes! I wouldn’t be here without it.”

He continued, “You probably don’t know my story. Three years ago you wouldn’t recognize me. I was into drugs and alcohol. I was a mess. But now I don’t do any of that and change wouldn’t have been possible without Jesus.”

I said, “Wow! That’s awesome. So faith changed your life?”

“I was reborn. A new creation. I had to go through a treatment center. I had to get away from here… from the Drag… from this place and all the people I got high with. I had to leave all that old stuff behind.”

“How it is to be back here now?” I asked. “I walk down here once a week because it’s comfortable for me. I spent so much time here. Three years ago I was strung out just like some of these kids. In fact, I see some of the old guys every once in a while. But that’s not me any more. I don’t need that. I don’t even want that.”

“Do you go to church or some other Christian community?” I wondered. “I go from time to time. To a local baptist church near my house. I like to worship. I ‘m shy, so I don’t always like to get to know the people there.”

“Give it time,” I said. “Thank you so much for sharing this with me. It’s amazing to me that three years ago you were like some of those I minister to daily. Strung out. Looking for your next hit. Doing nothing and going nowhere. I’m so glad that this changed for you. And it gives me hope that it can change for them.”

He left. While I in no way take credit for his outcome, to see folks like Chuck is the goal of SYM. To offer faith as a resource to see kids come to know Christ, stabilize their lives in a new creation, and connect with Christian community. God is awesome! And the greatest resource around. Why keep it a secret!


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