I am too Uncool or too Old to be a Young Adult’s pastor?

Two questions I often get asked are “Can I work with young adults If am middle aged or older?” and “Can I have a ministry with Young Adults if I am not cool?”

Well let me answer those questions by introducing you to one David Rodigan. Rodigan is English, bald, white and middle aged. He looks like cross between George Costanza and your high school geography teacher. He is bascially one of the dorkiest looking men you could encounter. Of course there is nothing wrong with that…but there could be when you take into account what Rodigan loves to do.

Soundclashes are competitions that began in the ghettos of Jamaica between rival DJ’s, and their respective sound-systems. The DJ’s play their best tunes, and the crowd declares a winner. It is not a competition for the faint hearted. In the brutally competive world of Jamaican Dancehall reggae soundclashes David Rodigan is a legend, due to the fact that he is almost unbeatable. Rodigan regularily defeats DJ’s and selecta’s half his age.

Here Mr Rodigan anihilates rival DJ Poison Dart on his own turf. Skip to the 5:30min mark for the real madness to begin.

Here is Rodigan in action in Jamaica

To the uninitiated Rodigan’s antics look like the dancing drunk uncle that you wish had never shown up to your wedding. Yet in the whole Jamaican soundclash scene despite being an outsider he garners massive respect. So how on earth does someone who is so obviously not cool gain such respect in a world where coolness is essential?

  1. LONGEVITY: Rodigan has been travelling to Jamaica for years to hone his craft. His respect has been built on years of being on the ground and testing his skills and building up support. I remember someone telling me that ministry is spelt T.I.M.E . Rapport cannot be built with young adults overnight. Instead respect it built over time. Stick around long enough and people will start listening to you.
  2. KNOWLEDGE: Rodigan know his stuff. His encyclopaedic  knowledge of dancehall and reggae is what gets props from the people in the know. Ministry is the same, people will listen to you if you have something to say, something interesting, relevant and important to their lives.
  3. PASSION: At the end of the day Rodigan jumps around like an embarrassing nut, but after watching him for a while his sheer passion, lostness in the music that he loves is what is infectious. If you have passion for God, passion for ministry and a passion for young adults, it will cut through what is cool, hip and ephemeral.
  4. RELATIONSHIP: Rodigan was friends with Bob Marley and just about every reggae luminary you can name. At the end of the day young adults like all people are desperate for genuine relationship. In ministry like in life relationship trumps age.

And besides somehow Rodigan’s total uncoolness ironically makes him so much cooler, authentic and engaging than the sight of pastors trying to fit into skinny jeans.

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