Let’s hit on a rather unorthodox and uncomfortable topic. Do you think the church is still relevant to the lives of young people in this generation? I admit there are times that I would rather connect to the internet than go to church.I would rather read a novel or an inspirational nonfiction than listen to a looong sermon that does not speak to me. Yeah, I know I’m guilty of sometimes wanting to establish a Bedside church. You know, you just worship on the side of your bed. I came across this article on the website of the Division on Ministries with Young People of the United Methodist Church. Just click on the link to read the full article. The article struck me as something that must be read by pastors, priests and everyone who deal with youth. Although religion is still a big thing in the Philippines, more and more life experiences of these young people are already moving out of the influence of the church and of religion in general. Mass media, baby! Here are some challenges:
The obvious incongruity of spoken values and lived values plagues them. They see this type of behavior in their culture and it sickens them. To see a Greenpeace bumper sticker on a Suburban bothers this generation of revolutionaries. Since their birth they have been told that they can change the world, and they intend to do it. Why do they perceive this lack of incongruity?
Young people perceive that the church is home to a LOT OF HYPOCRITES and feel good and judgmental people. So this is a great stumbling block for them! Here’s another one:
Criticism of things of little consequence also drives young adults from our doors. Churches that balk at having a young person with blue hair or a pierced nose as part of their congregation are essentially assuring their absence. This is a generation of individuals seeking community. They are striving desperately to identify who they are and where they fit into a loving community. If that accepting, loving community is not found in the local church they will find it elsewhere. Does it really matter how many piercings or tattoos they have?
For most people in the church, they experience condemnation and judgment instead of grace and forgiveness, which is what God truly offers. I’m not saying we all leave the church and get on with the world. But really, try looking into your church, whichever one that is, and try to ask whether it is still relevant to your lives.