Youth Pastor Joins ISIS To Show Students That "God Loves Us No Matter What"
Mark Greene is an extreme youth pastor. He has said it many times. The folks at Grace Baptist know it. But his latest stunt to capture the spiritual imagination of his students may have crossed a line. The theme for his summer lessons is 'The Reckless Love Of God.' And this week he did something more outrageous than anything he's ever done before.
"Many of our kids think that their relationship with God is fragile," states Pastor Greene, (or "PG" as many of the youth call him.) "I want them to know that they can't do anything that would cause God to not love them. So I was brainstorming some ideas with some ministry friends on Snapchat. And all of a sudden it came to me. 'What is the craziest thing I could do?' BabiLu32 replied, 'Join ISIS! LOL' I thought about it for a minute and asked, 'Okay... if I did that, would God still love me? Is His love that reckless?' The chat was silent for a few minutes, and then God_Is_For_Us replied, 'Of course He would. You can't do anything to stop Him from loving you.' At that moment, it was on."
It took Mark a few days to actually connect with members of the Islamic terror group. Once he did, he had to bend the truth a fair amount in order to gain access. But once he did, the pieces fell into place. He expects to be tracked by Homeland Security, and even worse, to be interrogated by some of the parents in the church. But as he says, "Even Paul had his detractors. I'm sure they wondered why he was in jail so much. I'm not doing this for me. I'm doing this to show my teens that God's love is so strong, there is nothing they can do that is so bad that they would be ripped out of his hand."
So far his plan seems to be working. One of the older teens has started stealing cars in the neighborhood, and a girl is handing out Planned Parenthood info cards during the youth hang time on Wednesday nights.
Ben, part of the core group of student leaders is amazed. "Last year, everyone was kind of like these clean-cut Christian kids. We had no idea what free grace was. But PG has opened up our eyes to the depths of God's love. Every week before we start, we all say our theme verse together... 'Where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more.' (Romans 5:20.) I'm so lit, this coming Saturday I am going to have it tattooed on my forehead. I've got to tell you... rebellion has transformed my walk with the Lord."
Currently Pastor Greene is only able to Skype with the youth group on Wednesdays. It seems like every week they are kidnapping Christian kids somewhere in the Sudan. He looks forward to Ramadan break when he can spend more time with his home church.