For more than 20 years, Max Lucado has helped Christians understand the biblical color of the white space between Bible verses. As an author and pastor, his reassuring tone and conversational communication style have mentored a generation looking for intimate dialogue beyond propositional theology. In a postmodern era when the pendulum now swings more naturally his way, we jumped at the chance to hear his spin on what is happening in Christendom.YWJ: We want kids to follow Jesus and develop a biblical worldview, but it's not always easy. Teenagers seem to form their convictions emotionally instead of propositionally—through how they feel while watching storylines on TV, for example, instead of actual spiritual research. Do you think there is any validity to youth workers using videos and stories as a sort of emotional ministry, or are we sacrificing theological content to do so?Max:
I do think there is a place for emotional ministry. The work of the Holy Spirit stirs intellect and emotion, and that creates what we know and what we feel. Keeping the balance on those is the challenge, but I'm not afraid to help stir emotions in people's hearts if we trust and work with the Holy Spirit to counterbalance.
None of us know the perfect spiritual diet we need to give others—all of us operate on what worked with us and what worked with others. The Holy Spirit is behind us and before us, and I believe He's going to supplement.YWJ: In contrast, we also live in a time when many people inside the church are questioning if we can know true theology. There's been a lot of reimagining of traditional doctrines, and many claim they're using a more accurate historical context or clarity of stories told during the biblical era to make their points. Do you think this is helpful or hurtful to living simply in the story of God?Max:
Any type of honest dialogue about faith is helpful. If we're in an era when faith isn't taken for granted, it's going to create a helpful place for us to grow while forcing us to anchor deep. I really welcome the dialogue. I think people such as you and others who are moving into leadership roles around the country are in a far better place of faith and knowledge than I was 20 years ago. I'm really impressed with the dialogue you're helping to happen and am optimistic about the church. I don't think there's anything to be anxious about if it helps us focus on the essentials.YWJ: In your book, you wrote, "Everything changes when you know the rest of the story." Can you give me an example of something out of your control that you feel caught up in these days and how knowing God's story is helping you through it?Max:
I'm 57, and one thing that's struck me is a diminished energy for ministry; and that concerns me. When I was in my mid-30s, I was really ready to change the world and confident I could. By my mid-50s, the energy needed for church leadership and creative communication seemed to be more than what I naturally have. I don't want to quit, and I'm not depressed; but I don't have the raw passion to gut through it. I've been trying to sort it out, and recently as I was reading through the Book of Proverbs I came upon a verse that says God tests the heart. Maybe He's doing that for me right now to help me check my motives.