Rick Page was too inexperienced in student ministry to realize he was being had.
After four weeks as their youth pastor, he thought that having a high school group ‘testimony time’ would give the kids more opportunity to participate and help him to get to each one better. They were sitting in a circle and the idea was to go around and share their story.
Twenty-eight kids had showed up that night, and by the seventh one, Rick was already concerned that their testimonies had turned into something more like confessionals, and for a bunch of church kids, they seemed to be more sexually active than he would have expected.
Two thirds of the way around the circle, they got to the youngest kid in the group, Danny, who everyone called D.P.; and somebody said, “Don’t let him go yet, he’ll wreck it.”
Still Rick didn’t catch on.
At that point a couple of kids in the group who had already shared said, “I forgot some things;” and then added to their story. Each seemed to be more sensational than the last, with tales of sex, recreational drug use and petty crime.
Miraculously, they got all the way around the circle, though Rick thought it a bit disrespectful when some of them giggled during a few of the final stories, and told them they shouldn’t laugh at other people’s mistakes.
And then someone said, “Okay, now it’s D.P.’s turn.”
Danny was somewhat new to the group, but had long figured out what was going on, certainly longer than Rick, who still didn’t seem to have a clue. Everyone looked at D.P. to see what he might confess.
He took a deep breath and said, “I robbed a bank once.”
At that, the entire youth group exploded into laughter, and it was a laughter that just kept going and going.
Finally, things crystallized for Rick and he started laughing, too.
When things settled down it was his turn to speak. “Well, if you guys don’t mind;” he said, “I think we’d better do something different next week.”
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