A Letter to the Church

I was ushered into my workday this morning by an email letting me know that one of the kids on my caseload has run away.

The same teenager that I had to stay overnight at the office with a couple weeks back. The one that I would work at DSS forever for if it meant he would not have to endure another loss. The teenager that has lived in 20+ different places and lost every parent and sibling he has ever known.
The same teenager that makes really dumb choices and smokes a lot of pot. The one that will be repeating 10 grade for the 3rd time at 17 years old and still asks me how to spell every other word that he writes. The boy that hardly takes responsibility for his actions because he is so detached from everything around him.

Him. He ran away.
And my heart breaks.

Because he is broken. He is hurting and the pain never stops. He brings a lot of it upon himself and a lot of it he was born into.

He was in 20+ placements throughout his life because NOT ONE FAMILY was willing to commit to him and his terribly defiant and detached behaviors. NOT ONE. There has been so much “you messed up and now you don’t get a family” in his 17 years that the simple idea of family, and grace within a family, are completely foreign to him. I asked him last week who he is able to trust in his life and he named 3 people. THREE people that he trusts out of 17 years of life.

And ya know what? All 3 of them are his service providers and in some way employed to care about him.

That is unacceptable.
Plain & simple.

No government agency will make a good parent.
It was not meant to carry out that task.
But so often it is asked to do just that.
Stop placing the blame.

I started to think about Jesus this morning after I read that email. I started to pray for my boy.

And when I think about Jesus, I think about the ways in which he surrounded himself with the broken; people like this teenager.

Jesus loved the broken.
The vulnerable.
The marginalized.
The segregated.
The rejected woman.
The addicted man.
The orphaned child.
The mentally ill.
The homeless.
The lost.

And he loves my teenager.

But so often I don’t see the Church reflecting that image of God.
And I know you’ll think to yourself, “Our church has a great homeless ministry.” or “My church has a thriving orphan ministry.”

And those are wonderful things.

But let me ask you this- What are YOU personally doing in your life to help carry the sins and burdens of other people? What are YOU personally doing that makes you feel uncomfortable and drained? What are YOU personally doing that makes you feel completely desperate for Jesus?

Because the Jesus that I know.. He RAN to the vulnerable. He longed to see the broken restored. His heart was wrecked for orphan.

Yet we, His children and beloved, are so reluctant to care in the most minuscule of ways.
And that is not of Jesus.

I don’t know that I can say it many more times or scream it much louder without it losing it’s sting, but..


We should count it AN HONOR to serve and love and bring hope to the broken…
just as our Jesus did.
We should be desperate to see Him glorified.

There are around 300 churches in Greenville county. 300 churches that are supposed to care about the things and people that Jesus cared about.
And yet there was not even one family for my one teenager.

Please church, stop telling him that he doesn’t matter. 
And stop telling yourself that he doesn’t notice. 


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