Not too long ago I was leading the Gate in Heerhugowaard during one of our regular Friday night opening times. But there was nothing regular about this night. We hadn’t been open long when a group of “emo” looking teenagers walked in together with a friend of theirs who has a loose connection to the church. On the one hand I was very excited because these were exactly the kind of youth that we were hoping to attract. On the other hand, I was a little nervous because I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. One girl in particular caught my attention.

Bleached-blonde hair. Dark eye shadow. Leather jacket. And a pacifier in her mouth. That’s right – a baby pacifying device (neon-green to be exact) was in her mouth and, to be honest, I was confused. But I welcomed them and we all talked with each other.

The blonde-haired girl kept the pacifier in her mouth for most of the night, sometimes mumbling through it but never taking it out to say anything very clearly.

Somewhere toward the end of the night I saw her reach for the pacifier in her mouth and it was as if everything else stopped. It’s quite possible that my mouth even dropped open in anticipation of what she might say.

The neon green pacifier laid in her hands just long enough for her to look around and say,

“This is a really cool church.”

Then she slipped it back in her mouth and walked out the door.

Listen, I’d love to tell you that she came to Jesus right at that moment. I’d love to tell you that she’s been to the Gate everyday since then and has begun witnessing to her friends about the Lord. But I can’t tell you that.

Not yet.

This is the battle that we who work in Europe are fighting for this generation. For them, the church is a thing of history books, statues, old buildings and old people. It bears no significance on their daily lives much less their thoughts, feelings and direction.

The challenge for us is not to figure out new, cool ways to communicate the gospel. The challenge is for gospel-changed people to live their lives in such a way as to give this world something to talk about; to see God at work right in front of them and to attribute worth and honor to Him. (1 Peter 2:12)

To say it another way, the challenge is for us is to live out our love for Jesus in such a way that it makes teenage, emo girls take the pacifier out of their mouths and take a second look; a second look at a community of people that she never would have thought she would have been touched by; a second look at Jesus.