- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 29, 2008

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I was in college and, at 19 years old, was not a Christian. I just started reading the Bible out of curiosity and almost every class I was in had something to say about Jesus. I became a Christian when I was still in college. One afternoon I was out on a walk in the woods, and God just spoke to me. He told to me four things: to marry Grace, my high-school sweetheart; plant churches; train men; and preach the Bible - and that’s what I’ve been doing since 1990.

In 2007, we were the [country’s] 22nd-fastest growing church, in America’s least-churched city. No matter what, it’s working. Those who don’t believe it are probably in a different culture. Statistically, the least-likely person to go to church is someone in their 20s, with a guy in his 20s being the least likely of all. I really get a lot of people in their 20s and particularly guys at that age.

No. We have two offices of leaders called elders and deacons. The elders are men. The deacons are men and women. We believe that’s the teaching of the Bible in the New Testament Scriptures like Titus 1 and I Timothy 3 that say elders are supposed to be a certain quality of man - and we take that literally.

Well, I would say it’s a better to stay single than marry a loser! I tell the women in our church to not settle or lower their standards just because they want to be married. Go to school, get a job, and if you find a good man, that’s great. If not, don’t make it happen. It is true that there are not enough Christian men. Mars Hill Church followers are about 50 percent female and almost exactly 50 percent are married, 50 percent single. My goal has been to get the guys to step up to be responsible. Get a job, grow up and to step up to be men instead of juvenile boys.

A lot of young people that I’m dealing with already sense that something’s terribly wrong. Forty percent of these kids come from a single-parent family and about two-thirds of them have been sexually abused, raped or molested. So they’re looking for another option.

We come in, teach the Bible, talk about Jesus and give them that other option. Something that’s interesting about this culture is that as soon as you’re dating someone, it’s like they should get a naked photo on the phone. I think there are a number of young people saying, “Is this really how we want to live our lives? Are we not repeating the same kind of system that led to us being from single-parent homes and us getting sexually abused?”

It’s like saying every highway goes to the same town. Not all paths lead to Jesus. Jesus spoke the most out of anyone in the Bible, and if you believe what he said, you know there’s not a bunch of paths to Him.

God is perfect. He’s a perfect person. Heaven is a perfect place, and the only people who are welcome there are people who have been forgiven and made perfect by Jesus. Everyone lives somewhere, and we don’t invite everyone in to hang out there. They are only invited if they respect our rules. And God has that same right, and He doesn’t have to let everyone live with Him. If we can’t respect Him, He doesn’t have to let us into His house.

Take the average non-Christian and ask them, “Do you want to hang out with Jesus and all the Christians in heaven forever?” No! That’s not what they want. They’d be miserable in heaven.

That Jesus truly is in every way the most important person who’s ever lived and that he is the most important decision you’ll ever make.

Trying to keep up with so many people who have become Christians. On Easter alone, we get 200 more who convert to Christianity. We have so many that we want to help and care for. Caring for that many people is a daunting task.

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