“So let me ask you a question. How many of you here tonight are thinking about killing themselves?” the lead singer asked a sea of young people from the stage. The place went cold and silent. So did I.
I was working this Christian event that culminated in a concert given by the singer and his band and had walked into the 4000-seat arena toward the end of his testimony where he described himself as a poor, overweight, and unwanted kid. He took his angst out onto the streets where he wreaked havoc on his community, stealing, fighting, taking and dealing drugs. It sent him into a hopelessness that drove him to what seemed to be his only option. Suicide.
But Jesus rewrote his story.
As I looked at the capacity crowd, I was shocked to see hundreds of hands—maybe 300—were raised in answer to his question. From my position in the cheap seats, it was if the darkened arena suddenly grew a star field. All those hands reflected the stage lights and filled me with horror.
All those kids are thinking about taking their lives?
“Now,” he continued, “keep ‘em raised if you’ve already written your goodbye note to your parents.”
About half of the hands went down, leaving 150 or so in the air. I gulped to realize I was in the midst of so much pain.
“Lastly,” the singer said, “how many people are here because this concert was your last ditch effort to find something to live for?”
About 30 hands remained; 30 twinkling little lights hoping for someone to save them.
When the altar call was given, hundreds of young people walked forward to give their lives to Jesus—whether those 30 were among them, I do not know. But as I sat there, shed a few tears and prayed, I had to trust that they were among those that called out to Jesus, and that this had been their divine appointment.
It was good for me to be there; to witness this extraordinary, gut-wrenching moment. Not because I was unaware there are hurting youth out there. I knew that. But because this gathering of kids were from the area churches who had been contacted to support the event.
If there was ever anything that could cement the reality that our youth have been torn apart by the pressures of our day, that was it. For even in our own churches, the stresses are monumental. The internet. Social media. The pressures to succeed. Whatever they are, they’re devastating our kids.
If you do not have a ministry that you serve, there may be no better use of your time than to support middle/high school and young adult ministries. Our kids are clearly in a battle. They could use some backup.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please call the crisis line at 888-724-7240 and click herefor community resources.
Have you been affected by the loss of somebody to suicide? Click here to learn more about After Shock, the Rock Church's Suicide Loss Ministry.
Click here for more information about Rock Church's Youth Ministry or to sign up to serve.