(This post was written by Drew Wells, Pastor of Young Adults)
The guys all laughed and passed around a nickel newspaper pointing at the picture. As the camera lens zoomed in, it was clear that the front page was a collection of mug shots of local people who had recently been arrested. One picture was of one of the guys in this young group of Faith Promise men. But why were they laughing?
Three months ago while I was staying up late writing another blog post, an idea surfaced of a reality-based video project that captured a month in the life of people that are connected in a Faith Promise group. No scripts, no actors, no boundaries. This is the best and worst idea I have ever had… that I can remember.
Now three months wiser and two groups later, it is clear to me that life change happens in the context of community. It is also clear that God reveals monumental themes in His character, in the most peculiar of ways. So, why were these guys laughing at the mug shot?
Just weeks before this group, the young man was arrested, charged, and sentenced to a short but sobering time in the clink. During that time, the young man accepted Christ and upon release was baptized during a Faith Promise weekend service. The young man connected in a group, and soon entrusted them with his story. Weeks later, one of the his group brothers came across the newspaper and brought it to group for a laugh.
These guys were not mocking the humiliation and brokenness of a brother from one of the darkest moments in his story. They were acknowledging a marker that ultimately led to his salvation and renewal. There was no judgment, no air of superiority. He is no longer a criminal. He is a part of the family, subject to all the ribbing and camaraderie that comes with it.