Archive for March, 2013

We missed it!

I sit across the table and I see a young man slightly overweight funny and very intelligent. I listen intently with deep questions of where did we Christians go wrong? Was he hurt by a church? Did his parents show him religion instead of a relationship with Jesus?

Still he fills my head with questions as he says, “Church is not relevant to my life. It has no meaning to me. Religious games are played by people and leaders. It is not for me.”

“If you could find a church that was different what would it look like?” I asked.

“Very different from what I see here in the south. California churches are different or should I say you can find different churches. They feel different. It’s not just the dress it is the attitude of the people. They love you without judging; they’re just real.”

“So are you saying”, I asked, “you will never go back to church because you don’t live in California?”

“No, he said I’m still looking for a church that is different.”

“But how do you know it’s different if you never go to church? I ask”

“Because everyone I know will be talking about it, he said”

I would like to say he is one in a million young adults who are de-churched. For every one of his excuses I could come back with a rebuttal but arguing with a person who cut their teeth on a pew and was exposed to all experiences of church from radical faith to boring business meetings I am left with unsettling questions about how we (me and the rest of the leaders of the faith community) do church.

I always thought as a youth pastor you give kids radical true faith, fun youth group and you have laid a foundation that is unshakable. I still believe that’s true. But I never thought about what happens with these kids when they are young adults and we offer nothing for them? The thought when I was a teen of the 80’s was service and it’s time to grow up and sit with the adults or stay in youth ministry and be a youth leader. For me I cannot remember graduation to adulthood. I always stayed in working with the teens because it was my heartbeat. When my kids became teen and I no longer worked as a youth Pastor because I wanted them to have a youth pastor that was not their mom. I was the youth worker, and with some of my disabled kids and it was the only way they could go to youth group. I am now 53 but because I have never been out of youth ministry. I look at adults my age and go maybe I’m the young 53 year olds of the new generation who love online games, water slides and amusement parks or maybe I just never grew up? But it is the silver years of a person who never was not a youth worker.

Where did we go wrong with the 70% of young adults who left the church this year?

I guess this morning I have woken up to a call that I have been hearing stronger and stronger as days past….How are we doing church wrong? How can we stop the statistics and reverse them?

How can we do church different? How can we stay relevant to a generation who screams out for honesty transparency and love?

We really have not done church much different in 20 years. Twenty years ago the church got rid of the choir and went to worship groups not really the worship leader doing it all. We got rid of hymn books and went contemporary, but we still do church the same way with the same format. Some church dress less formal but it is still the same format.

In fact in some ways it is a little less personal. Because of computers and texting a person can go all week long and never truly talk to a person. But, I am no way anti-technology I may become violent if you take away my cell phone or my I Pad in my purse.  🙂

This morning I read in my Bible

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings

This morning I am laying my heart before the Lord and asking …have I become all things to all men so by all possible means I might save some? Have I asked young adults to fit into a mold called church and when they have not dismissed it? Or have I rethought church so it is all things to all people so by all means they can be saved? This is the challenge God has placed before me rethink church for a generation who never got it.

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