Day 2, Follower 1, been a wild ride. Today is simply a response to several things I saw today combined with some recent reading I have been doing and some visions of future churches I have seen. Todays is going to focus on the "Emerging Generations" as Dan Kimball puts it in his book, They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations . The emerging generation for the purpose of today will be 18-25 while still realizing it applies to the rest of the "emerging generation" (26-35).
I will start with a short story of something I witnessed today. I was let out of biology class a little early today. As I walked out the side exit into the courtyard, I see lots of commotion happening between the college mall and the english building. In this commons area courtyard I see everything from a basketball hoop to a rock wall. I then see that there is free food over next to the entrance to the college mall (basically the student union building). I walked over because, "If it's free, it's me." I see this elderly gentleman standing there with a box. Not really knowing what he has I move closer. I assumed this to be important as he was standing at the juncture where the most people would pass throughout the day. I walk up and see him passing out NKJV Bibles for the Gideons.
Now, this made me think and totally diverted what I had originally planned for today and I could feel God speaking about this. Why do we have to have a 60+ year old man handing out bibles on a college campus? Where have the youth of our culture fallen astray in their willingness to share their belief? I stood there for 10 or 15 minutes just watching as I saw numerous people accept his little green books of the New Testament. I just now wish I knew what happened afterwards. We have this man who is confident enough to stand here on a college campus and hand people, who most in our church community would consider "lost heathens," the word of God. All the while in a suit and tie. I am not saying the is the most effective outreach technique but it is one none the less. It is an attempt, and it is refreshing to see at least someone care about our generation.
Now to the point in the title. Our generation of 18-35 is being swept into a category most churches classify as "single adults 1." There is little outreach focused toward this age group. I was confronted after a meeting tonight and told it was refreshing to see a youth (church word for 25 and below) that could stand up for what is right and think for themself. I was greatly appreciative for this but the thing about our new generation is that they do think for themselves. This is why we need a new outreach strategy. Our current strategy is outdated and needs tweaking. We need to focus on the important things. Jesus is becoming an icon in the world, people don't have problems with Jesus, they have problems with churches. These churches need to realize we need to come together as THE Church. When we do this we are unstoppable for we are the Bride of Christ. We should love and show compassion to all in this world while avoiding the sad state of sucked into a Christian life of complacency. This will work for all generations but will help out much better for the new generation.
One more story. I was at work one day discussing religion and faith with a coworker. He was 18 at the time and was demonstrating incredible knowledge of the Bible. He told me he read the Bible and understood it and liked Christianity but didn't know which one was right (refering to denominations). I had already been considering denominations but this was a light to me. Individual churches are to concerned with small doctrinal issues that mean very little if anything in the big scheme of things. This is why my prayer for the church in America is to go back to the basics. I believe we are on our way and I pray that you will pray for the church in this process. The statistic says that 80% of churches in America are plateaued or declining. This means somebody is doing it right. If those churches can grow and incorporate the generations from all across the spectrum, WHY CAN'T WE? So as my prayer for you is that you will do some digging in your life to see if you have become focused on looking like a Christian with your Christian friends, music, and t-shirts. I hope not, I hope you have become focused on being a Christian with your Christan views, outreach, and love for others. When all else fails those non-Christian friends of yours will look to you in times of need and give you the oppurtunity to share the Good News or the Gospel with them. You must build these relationships first and then focus on presenting them when the time is right. Don't evangelize people because you feel you need to check a conversion box. Tell them about your Holy Father and His Son so that they can find Him and His love for themselves and enjoy eternal life with Him.
If you truly do love a brother you will share. This means invest in those you know but don't really talk too, help those in need, love those who need love. I pray for you and me that we will do this together and take the church in America from a Sunday group of interconnected church friends to an everyday group of loving and compassionate friends from all walks of life.