Headline: Fayette teens do good things again!
The headline this past week in both the Citizen and even in the AJC said something different from this headline above. We pray for the young man and his family from that event last week as they sort through the tragedy that apparently occurred between a teen nephew and his uncle right here in Fayetteville. The headline read, with paraphrase, “Fayetteville Teen ‘does a terrible thing.’”
But as headlines most often do, this one is so distorted concerning 99 percent of the population. Always remember that it is “Man bites dog” that makes the news. It’s the strange, bizarre, “If it bleeds, it leads” reality of the media. Yes, these things happen but news and news headlines often lead to a distorted view of reality, and throw undue negative connotations on associated groups or segments of the population.
Here’s the headline that should be in the papers and media every day: “Fayette Teens do good things again.” Amen!
Fayette teenagers are by far among the best law-abiding citizens, best students, best believers and churchgoers, best participants in constructive and creative activities, best musicians and athletes, best mission trip participants, best workers and employees, best sons and daughters of any teens throughout the whole country.
Here is one simple example. It is duplicated hundreds of times over throughout our county day in and day out, week in and week out. A week ago we had “Youth Sunday” at our church. Most churches have such a Sunday when about once a year all the youth in the church take on even greater roles in the life of the church and in the worship services that day. We were so blessed to have more than 30 of the teenage youth of our church participating. They arrived that Sunday at 8 a.m. Let me repeat that for emphasis: They arrived at 8 a.m. Sunday. Remember, these are teenagers. That should have made the headlines. This was outstanding sacrifice just to begin with.
As the morning unfolded, some teens were greeters, standing at the door with big smiles on their faces giving the warmest welcome anyone could imagine. Some teens were ushers handing out bulletins, helping folks get seated, and, of course, taking up the offering with purpose and precision. Some teens helped lead the services with spoken welcomes and necessary announcements. Some teens sang praise songs.
Some teens stood before the congregation and made profession of their faith, using the words of The Apostles’ Creed, and sharing the true in-depth meaning of each of the three parts. That should have been the headline on Monday morning, “Fayette teens profess Christ as Savior and Lord, declare their faith.” Such an event is truly world-changing.
Some “Fayette teens” then proceeded to proclaim The Word of God in Scripture, culminating in the great “Gospel in a nutshell.” They let the world know, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Then some teens stood before God and the congregation and offered prayers of praise and asked God to show His Grace to us and to the world, and to be with us through the good times and the bad.
One simple example. One world of truth.
Let me say here that I acknowledge and am so thankful for this Citizen newspaper that gives pages and pages to headlines and stories of “Outstanding Fayette teens doing good things.” Please keep it up. I know you will.
And here’s one more example of encouragement and affirmation that our “Future Fayette teen population will keep doing good things.” Just this past Sunday we had our children and pre-teens present their spring Christian musical before the whole congregation. Of course, they were cute. But most of all, they gave a message to the congregation and to the world that is perhaps the most important message of our time.
Their program was “Rescue In The Night,” the story of Daniel in the lions’ den. Through catchy songs and clever dialogue, they told the story of Old Testament Daniel, who was commanded by the ruling king to denounce his faith and stop praying to The Lord, the One True God. When Daniel refused and held to his faith, he was thrown into the lions’ den, surely to be devoured. But Daniel prayed to The Lord, the One True God, and The Lord protected him and spared him, and the lions did not harm him.
What a great lesson for these children and pre-teens both to learn and proclaim. For in their lives, as for in ours, there are and surely will be even more times when evil forces, perhaps peers or even government, try to prohibit and attack our faith in The One True God. But these young Christians who gave this wonderful program will know the power of God to stand strong in their faith. That is what will keep “Fayette teens doing good things.”
[Kollmeyer is pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, www.princeofpeacefayette.org.]