Statistics tell us we’re losing the battle. The hard truth is this: a generation of teens and twenty-somethings who’ve grown up in the church are now leaving for greener pastures. And those greener pastures really have more to do with practical atheism and a plurality of thoughts and philosophies related to God, faith and religion. We’re losing them and losing them in record numbers.
In the meantime, our traditional congregations grow older and plush with a stoic determination for all things comfortable yet irrelevant. Just today, while attempting to shop with my wife, I found myself in a conversation with an older yet wise couple so deeply troubled at the drab of some churches and the lack of life and youth.
But I have good news…there is hope. There are churches who have rounded the corner and found ways to engage the culture while holding to Biblical non-negotiable. They do it in creative ways that stretch the bounds of comfort for those who’ve been seated in pews longest. And, amazingly enough, they’re seeing this generation return and engage at a very high level. And if you look closely enough…there’s something strangely Biblical about what they do. There seems to be an empowering of the Holy Spirit in ways these churches have never seen.
So allow me to sound the alarm! We can never make our traditions holy and mistake them for the purity of the Gospel. If we make our comfort and preferences the center of our worship experiences…then we’ve succumbed to a spiritual narcissism. So let me make this very clear – God will not be among the proud, the bitter, or the “set in their ways”. News flash: it isn’t about you! If that’s hard to swallow, try a little New Testament reading…maybe start with James?
This weekend we’ll be expecting a great move of God during D-Now @ Concord. We’re investing in the future expecting to see students experience a mighty visitation of God. I’m praying they catch a fire that will spread to the Church. I’m praying that fire will remind so many of a time when their faith was new and passion was their language. I’m praying parents will remember the call to live this faith daily…powerfully. I’m praying when this fire catches hold, students will stand along adults with hands raised high. I’m praying for shouting, stomping, jumping and praising that pours into the streets and shakes the foundations. I’m praying a revival starts!
It’s time we rethink what we do…and lead with strong and passionate hearts for all things Jesus! Let’s give up on anything and everything that divides us and hold to all that unites. Let’s embrace change that hurts. Let’s speak a relevant language and see the church become a place where all generations can worship at the feet of Jesus!
Lord…may it be so!