The whole time I sat watching the taping and work ran about two hours.
They had three places where they had to stop the taping and re-set because of a camera glitch.
So out of that two hours, how long do you think Jim spent pitching the food products and talking about giving to the ministry?
Around twenty minutes.
I was stunned.
When I see his show on TV, it seems like a large part of it revolves around the food buckets and giving to the ministry to keep it going. It was just a minor part of today’s taping of the program. In fact, there wasn’t any real “hard sell” where he had the audience tasting the food or breaking something out to cook it. The Master’s Media students were really the focus of the show.
After the show, Jim thanked the audience as I took the opportunity to duck out. I went back to the cafe, ordered a bacon cheeseburger and started to type these blog entries. That’s when students started to trickle into the cafe.
They sat together. They ate together. They laughed together.
It was real, honest fellowship while they had no idea someone was sitting nearby watching how they interacted. They were pleased with the show and their efforts. Some chatted about things they would be doing that afternoon. All of them were just as joyful as before the taping of the show had started out.
And that’s when I really allowed what I saw today to sink in.
It wasn’t about Jim Bakker although you can’t deny he’s a big part of what goes on at the Morningside complex.
It was about these kids.
Regardless of what you think about Jim Bakker or his ministry or even the Master’s Media program, these kids believe in it. They believe they’re making an impact for Christ and the Kingdom of God and they’re willing to give up large parts of their life to make it happen. I can’t say if the program is valid or not. I can’t say if on another day they might not be this tight knit a group.
All I know is today, I saw a fired up group of youths who want to impact the world for Jesus.
And it made me wonder the times that we as adults have taken steps to shut down the ministry ideas that our youth want to do for the things we think that they should be doing because “that’s how it’s always been done.” What would happen if we listened to them, designed things that would work to their strengths and allowed them to reach their peers in ways that you and I could never do it?
How could they change the world?
Why would we want to get in the way of them changing it?
We need to be supportive of the next generation who knows ways to reach their peers that someone who’s been in ministry for 50 years would never think of doing to bring them Jesus. It might be the way they’re doing it with GenerationNOW, it might not be the way. There’s no way to know until we let them try.
If you were expecting some scathing expose of Jim Bakker and lots of dirty little secrets, I’m sorry to disappoint you. During the time I was observing the situation, I didn’t see anything that would validate the critics of Bakker. Now, I concede that it was only a short amount of observational time and a small sample size of the students I talked to before and after the show. I will never say this is definitive on Bakker’s spiritual state or the integrity of the ministry.
I can just say today, I saw fired up youth for Christ. And that is an encouraging thing.