Calling all parents and grand-parents! You’re attention please! Actually, to be fair, this is really a call to all our church leaders as well: Ministers, Youth Ministers, Elders, Deacons (and anyone else who cares about all of our younger Christians).
I’m a life-long CofCer. I grew up as a part of some great youth groups. We had terrific Bible classes and devotionals where I was encouraged and motivated and also challenged and rebuked. I also had many terrific experiences at youth rallies both large and small. All of these were exciting and formative experiences that included powerful worship, vulnerable moments of faith-shaping fellowship and wonderfully close encounters with God. Then reality hit and we went home; where we promptly threw it all out the window because evidently that’s not allowed back at our home churches. Nope, none of that deep genuine fellowship or powerful singing of songs that were written after 1960. Not for us. At our church, worship included the carefully scripted exercises that had not changed since before we were born: welcome, opening prayer (because you can’t have a worship service without first formally opening it with prayer), two or three songs, communion, song, sermon (on The Five Reasons that We Don’t Do Something. . . ), invitation (where about two people a year came forward), song and then the closing prayer (since we had an opening prayer, logic naturally would dictate that we close worship with a prayer). Ahhhhh! (and a deep, long sigh).
What’s that definition of insanity? Doing the same thing and expecting a different result? Well, then I need to be committed! Because not only did I spend my childhood and teen years going through those hypocritical motions, but then I went into ministry and became the hypocrite. The last time I took a youth group to a big-time youth rally was Exposure, exactly two years ago. The kids had all those experiences that I had when I was a kid. They came home on a spiritual high and then the crash happened. And everyone stands looking around lamenting the sad spiritual state of everyone else’s children. That’s hypocritical, dishonest and not fair to the kids.
This is what I just don’t understand: why is it okay for us to send our kids to have that type of worship at a youth rally, but not on Sundays at their home Church? What possible justification could we have for that? The truth is that so many of our churches are allowing their traditions and routines to chart their course for the future. Unfortunately, if we keep charting our course this way, then our future will include fewer and fewer of our kids. And we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.
Okay, that’s my rant for the evening. 😉