Union Ridge Church

February 15, 2023

by Reverend Dan on February 15, 2023
We had an Evangelism committee meeting at church recently, and on my way all I could think was, “lucky me, another meeting.” But this one . . . it was special. As I’ve mentioned before the paradigm at our church has changed over the last few years and we’ve begun to dismantle the “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” methodology. (Not abandon it, after all, it got us here. But as the world changes, we need to change with it. Not concede to it, not change the message we have been called to bring, simply present it in a way relative to the world we live in. Basically, same gift, new wrapping.)

A few days before the meeting, our ministry intern asked if she and two of the older youth could make a presentation. I’d like you to stop and think about that statement. The youth of the church were choosing to give up their evening to talk about ways to reach people for Christ. That should make us all think. Us older folks sit around bemoaning having to come out to church at night, and these youth wanted to. We should be humbled by this. And a bit ashamed. We sit back and wait for something to happen and then react. These youth were being proactive about Kingdom building. Allison told me their presentation was about something to do with Facebook and YouTube and Instagram and instantly that cold, “I’m already confused” sweat broke out. Immediately I invited the Technology committee to translate what the youth were saying, and when the meeting began, I realized what a great decision that had been. You see, Allison said, “the youth would like to recommend . . .” and then they lost me. They were talking about branding and live streaming and cameras and pixels and megabytes. Then they said, “We know there will be cost, and we’ve talked about the youth funding this project.” Wow. Try getting that by a committee of us old geezers. Spending money on something not in the budget that most of us don’t understand?! And they had done their research. They had the information and data to back up and support their idea. Examples of what other churches do, statistics about our Facebook presence and how that could be increased, analysis of what would work best in different situations, things we needed to consider, obstacles that may present themselves. It was like an episode of “Shark Tank”, and I was all in.

I get tired of hearing all the negative talk about the youth of today. About how lazy they are or the strange things they do or the way they dress. I would remind you that all parents have the same issues with youth, no matter what the generation. The world was going to hell in a handbasket in the 50’s because boys would grease the fittings on their cars and then put the rest of the grease on their hair to impress the girls that were screaming at that devil incarnate, Elvis. In the 60’s it was the long hair on boys and short skirts on girls that signaled the end of the world. You get the idea. We can’t judge an entire generation simply because their culture is different from the one in which we grew up, especially when our track record isn’t stellar. And remember, as their parents, who raised them to be this way?! The youth of today are like the youth of every generation. They’re figuring out who they are and how they relate and fit in the world. We may not like some of the choices they make, but our parents didn’t always like our choices either. It’s time to look for the good in today’s youth, and there’s a lot there to find. “Fathers do not exasperate your children” scripture tells us. All too often we call the youth “the church of tomorrow.” That’s wrong because it disenfranchises them today. They are part of the church today, and therefore should be heard. New and fresh ideas are not a danger to the church. They are part of the promise that the church will remain relevant no matter what the culture.​​​​​​​