CEDAR RAPIDS, IA—When Josh Norton was hired in 2004 as the youth pastor of StoneBriar Community Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he was fresh out of seminary, up to date on pop culture, and able to connect well with the Jr. High and High School students in his ministry. However, as the years have passed, his references to movies, TV, and his use of slang have all remained stuck in the early 2000s.
This inability to adapt to the times is evidenced most clearly in Norton’s favorite greeting. Upon seeing a member of the youth group, he is known to shout out, “Wassssuppp!!!” imitating a Budweiser television ad campaign which aired from 1999 to 2002.
“I wasn’t even born when that commercial came out,” said high school sophomore Stephanie Drake. “He keeps saying it and expecting us to say it back, but nobody does.”
Teens who attend the church’s events often find themselves at a loss while listening to Norton’s antiquated cultural touchpoints.
“He says things like ‘yo Quiero Taco Bell,’ and quotes old ‘Simpsons’ episodes and expects us to get the joke,” said youth group member Jaxon Graves. “No one our age knows who Ned Flanders is.”
When asked about the issue, Pastor Josh attempted to downplay the disconnect, saying, “C’mon, dog, I can relate to these homies."
Despite this apparent fault, the church has no plans of replacing him.
“He may be a little outdated,” said StoneBriar Senior Pastor Henry Smith, “but he’s still the hippest cat on the pastoral staff, and for the most part, he still jives with the youngsters.”
In an effort to develop a renewed connection with his students, Norton has made some "dope updates” to his Myspace page.