Kevin Welborn | @theKevinWelborn
I love The Back Row. I believe it is a unique, timely ministry that has the potential to reach a large and hungry audience. This month, as most of you have noticed, we are giving our testimonies on the website. Matt has encouraged us to be honest about what God has done/is doing in our lives.
I want to do that to the best of my ability today and I believe God can use this to reach a portion of the audience that is ostracized within the Christian community. This group is the “church kids”. Read that again…I had the audacity to say that kids who grew up in church can be marginalized in the church.
More than once, I have witnessed speakers at youth events refer to those of us whose parents raised us in church as “church nerds”. It was obviously done in jest and I took absolutely no offense to it, personally. But, the tone used was to hammer the point that we are the silver-spooned, naïve babies of the world that have no idea what the real world is like and that we will never function as true recipients of grace because of our privileged upbringing.
In other words, our testimonies are less impressive due to our parents doing half the work for Jesus. He only had to kinda, sorta save us.
As a youth minister for ten years, I had many conversations with church kids who doubted their salvation, because his or her background did not involve bank robbery or illicit drug use. They had been conditioned to believe that a testimony must glorify the past deeds of a sinner and not the work of the Savior.
I am 34 years old and I have never had a sip of alcohol. Or puffed a cigarette. Drugs terrify me. Both of my parents love me and I have never questioned that.
I won the lottery of life.
On my dresser at my mom’s house are perfect attendance awards for Sunday School. In our kids choir at church, I was “Super Sailor of the Year”. Twice. There isn’t a felt board Bible story that I have not seen. I was a good kid by all accounts.
But, on the inside was a wretched, gross human bent towards selfishness and pride. I loved and longed for the words of affirmation that people gave me. As long as I received praise, I would thank God for making me who I was. Kevin, the Most High King of Self-Righteousness.
Remember the Pharisee who thanked God that he wasn’t like the publican? Can you imagine praying to God that you are grateful that you aren’t like some poor schmuck? Hideous and sickening. Yet, that was the werewolf inside of me, scratching to surface and let the world admire his grandeur.
For almost all of my teenage years, I fought God on the issue of my salvation. Didn’t God remember all the great things I had done? Surely, I was worthy of Heaven. But, I wasn’t. Nor am I today.
Once God convinced me of my lost condition, I started to fear the reaction of people around me. What if I admit that I am not perfect and this testimony of my own goodness comes crumbling down? Pride had enslaved me to a life of people-pleasing.
I needed a rescuer, a redeemer.
When I called to Him, He arrived immediately.
Though I had taken His rightful place on the throne of my life, He did not hold it against me. He had fought me for four years to win me. Once I surrendered to the Lord, I felt a release of pressure that I had stacked on my own shoulders.
To the church kids, don’t ever sell your testimony short. The skeletons in your closet are as nasty as the next guys. Jesus spilled as much blood for you as He did for anyone else. That is not the point, however. We should never brag about how awful we used to be.
We should only boast in cross of Jesus. It is foolishness to those that are perishing, but it is the power of God unto salvation for us as believers.
Much like one addicted to substances or some other vice, I still deal with my sin of self-righteousness after seventeen years as a believer in Christ.
However, He has not once let me down, knowing that I cannot do this without Him.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
Kevin Welborn is the pastor at Highland Baptist Church in Clovis, NM. He is married and has two daughters. He loves his native Texas, sports, and exploring creation. The most famous person he has ever met is someone you have never heard of. You can contact Kevin on Twitter at @theKevinWelborn.
The real, brutally honest testimonies to God's redeeming power from people on The Back Row.