Thursday, November 3, 2011

How times have changed

I was reading an article this evening about a Florida Pastor who has been praying at school flag poles for some time.  Now he is being told that it is illegal to do so.  He has committed to continue his prayer time, normally surrounded by parents and grandparents, this coming Monday as normal.  It all got me thinking.

In 1991, See You at The Pole was just getting off the ground as a student prayer meeting.  The movement was student led and grew quickly.  I was serving as a Youth Pastor in Louisiana and facilitated our students with accomplishing the Flag Pole prayer meeting.  It was huge.  And it continued to grow.  After the first year of seeing what God was doing I realized that more could be done.  I got with a fellow Youth Pastor from a neighboring town that was as crazy as I was and we started praying.  We asked God specifically to give us a plan for what we felt was swelling up inside of us.  Did we ever get an answer.

The next year we launched a See You at The Pole Rally.  Remember, we were crazy!  We sought to fill up  an entire Worship Center with teenagers and share the Gospel with them.  We encouraged students to get anyone they could to attend that night.  It was gonna be wild.  More crazy was the fact that neither of us budgeted the event (God placed it on our hearts after budget time) and out of the box thinking was going to be needed.

The plan formalized and with both us of us using our churches equipment and people the first rally day arrived.  The morning Flag Pole was huge.  But would they come that night?  Our church was hosting it.  Our adults had to move out of the Worship Center for their Wednesday night time.  Talk about raised eyebrows.  But they did.  Many of our adults agreed to work security and do other things.  They were still questioning just how many we would have and what in the world this event would be like.  I was doing the same thing!

Thirty minutes until start time and only 25 teenagers were on our property.  I was one nervous dude.  Fifteen minutes before start time and still only 25.  Then with five minutes to go - the swell hit.  That night over 450 teenagers filled our Worship Center.  It was beyond belief.  Over 20 teenagers accepted Christ as Lord and Savior.  5 others surrendered to ministry.  God had done a work beyond what we imagined.  Our youth group took off and from that point on we never baptized less than 30 teenagers a year. 

We continued the event and each year God worked in incredible ways.  And yet today I realized just how much times have changed.  Yes their were challenges back then.  Legally I had an attorney and other people making sure we did not cross any lines.  The schools themselves were supportive and many teachers joined in praying outside of the circle that the students would make.  Parents and grandparents joined.  No one from the school board nor the schools legal office tried to intervene.

Not today!  Funny how people demand their freedom while limiting others.  Funny how other religious groups resist legal pressure while enforcing the same on Christians.    Ironic that the Occupy movement can violate laws and actually get public funds applied to clean up their mess and more.  And yet today, a Pastor is told is it illegal to pray at a Flag Pole?

I'm still thinking...! 

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