The Random Thoughts of a Lutheran Parish Pastor
While this video is very funny and does make some excellent points about how important it is to teach your children and to preach the gospel as well as the law, I think it misses another reason so many young people are leaving the church (and by young I mean the 18-35 demographic which, as a 26 year old teacher, I am a part of). Coming out do high school and college, young people are used to easy community in the church. There is a great emphasis on high school youth ministry and on many campuses there are strong Christian communities of some type or another that provide convenient bible study or small group times and plenty of people who are willing to talk or hang out at times other than Sunday morning. Plus you know everyone, at least by site, at the church you grow up in or in the Campus ministry group you choose to be a part of.These do not represent real life in the church. In real life, community is hard. Churches are geared for people who want to build roots in a community. Recent graduates don't always know how long they will be somewhere. Because of student debt, their job decisions are based not on where they want to live or what job they want to have, but on how they can make enough money to pay off their loans and eat at the same time. Many people are cobbling two or three jobs together to make ends meet, and aren't able to make it to a 9:00 Thursday morning bible study, and Lutheran churches I've encountered don't offer evening bible studies. Young people want what anyone wants; they want to feel like they belong. Churches present an unrealistic expectation for convenient community in high school and college that evaporates when they enter the professional world. It isn't music that is driving young people away; it is the lack of people who show they care. It's people who harp at you for not being married yet instead of commending you for following God's plan for your life even though it doesn't include marriage right now and you really, really want a family, but you know you need to wait for someone who will draw you closer to God and not further away. It is listening to people complain about how irresponsible young people are when they move back into their parents homes when you are working two or three jobs desperately trying to pay back thousands of dollars in student loans. Young people want good music. Young people want to hear the gospel. Young people need to be taught by their parents. But they also want to belong to a community that shows them love.
Anonymus, you are entirely correct. Adults (of which I am one) very often don't offer anything to young people. We tend to stay in our own age divided groups. That is wrong, and we need to repent of our selfishness, and open up to our neighbors younger than ourselves.The sword cuts both ways, however. Part of the problem is the churches' dividing youth in to "youth groups," an artificial and recently modern development. Youth are not integrated into the community as a whole. This is partly the churches' fault, and partly the fault of our culture, which worships that age group of which you speak.Young people need to be taught their importance to the church. They need to know they are expected (and can) make adult decisions. By the time someone reaches 18-35 (especially the upper end of the range), they should be mature. Mature enough to know that community by it's very definition requires all entities to be responsible to and for one another. This is an issue which plagues not only churches, but any cross-demographic organization or community. We must, as Christians remember that everyone is our neighbor, and serve any and all.Thank you for your comment.
Post a Comment