“Check one…check….testing one. Lower that one a little, Kevin. And dim the lights.”
The young man’s voice echoed slightly in the empty room as the lights were lowered.
“Looks like we’re ready, let’s see how it sounds. One, two…”
The drums pounded out a rhythm and were soon joined by a keyboard and a couple electric guitars. Familiar praise and worship tunes took on a new life as interpreted by the teenage band.
Down the hall, Pastor Edward Sampson fidgeted with a pen, trying to concentrate. Exasperated, he slammed the pen down on his desk.
“This is ridiculous!” he snorted. “What’s going on in there?”
Ed’s wife, Lynn, looked up from the computer. “Honey, it’s just the youth group rehearsing. They have their own band now and do all the music themselves.”
“You call that music?” he grumbled. “I don’t like where this is going at all.”
Lynn turned around to face him. “You told the youth leaders they could run the service themselves and that’s what they’re doing. I think it’s great that they’ve taken such initiative.”
“That noise is not initiative. It’s, it’s disrespectful and worldly.”
“They’re not trying to be disrespectful. It’s just…youthful exuberance. They may need some guidelines here and there, but this is what other kids can relate to and will want to come and listen to. Give them a chance. Youth attendance has been up the last several weeks, you know.”
“Yeah, sure, but are they here to worship God or have a party? I see several of them all wearing those same black jackets…it’s like a gang or something. We could lose some of our more established members over something like this, which is exactly what we don’t need.”
“Oh, honey, settle down. They feel like they belong to something. If they don’t find that here, they’ll find it somewhere else.”
“Well, that’s where that noise belongs…somewhere else!” Ed stood and began pacing in front of his desk.
“What do you mean?” Lynn asked, frowning.
“I’m putting an end to this right now,” he snapped, heading toward the door, “before things get completely out of control!”
Lynn quickly stood in front of him. “Ed, don’t! They’re just kids—“
“And they will respect this house like I did growing up! I will not have those kids running around like a bunch of maniacs, driving people out of my church!”
He pushed past Lynn and headed out the door.
“Your church?” she called after him. “I thought it was God’s church!”
Whether he heard or not, Ed continued down the hall to the youth chapel.
It had been several weeks and Ed tried to ignore the dwindling youth attendance. He attributed it to school activities and such. Kids are fickle anyway, he reasoned.
As he and Lynn were driving to church for a mid-week service, they encountered a detour and were routed through the downtown area. Disgruntled, Ed looked around as he made his way through the slowed traffic. He stopped short when he saw several familiar black jackets heading into a teen club. Blaring music could be heard into the street when the door was opened. Ed could feel his wife’s convicting stare as he quickly looked away. Turning up the volume on the Classic Hymns Radio Hour, he stared straight ahead and silently continued down the road.
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