Thursday, April 8

Pet Peeve

You know how you can never come up with your pet peeves when people ask you about them? Well, I can't anyway. But I remembered one of them yesterday. Forewarning: please disregard the dishevelment of the following thoughts.

It really irks me when older adults refer to the youth as the future of the church. Truly.

It is my firm belief that youth and young adults are not the future of the church, but rather they are the church, right here, right now. Or at least that's how it ought to be in my opinion. Adults wonder and have tried to determine what exactly it is that makes young people leave the church. I don't profess to know the answer, but I think that at least one portion of the multi-faceted cause is that young people are not given any ownership in the church. They are constantly reminded that they are the future of the church, but when exactly is that? When someone turns 25 do they suddenly become part of the church? Or is it 30?

For a good while now, I have had a strong dislike for the recurring theme in the church that the elder generation will one day, at some undetermined time to come, pass the torch on to the youth. Why is it that the young, middle-aged, and elderly can't all be the church together in unity in the present time?

I don't pretend to ignore the fact that in order for that to become a reality young people will have to prove themselves worthy of the name Christian, but that's the same standard to which the older generation also ought to be held. But I really do believe that continuing to ingrain in the minds of the youth that they are the future of the church is disabling to their spiritual leadership.

Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. ~1 Timothy 4:12, NLT


Christen said...

Well said! Preach it, sister! :D

Threads Everywhere said...

I agree that YOU are the church, right now. The problem tends to be that "most" young people are not ready to commit to something that is happening in 20 minutes from now, much less in two weeks. Will they be available....hmmm..... let me think about it.....well, "if I'm there"..... Makes planning rather tough! We are thankful for what we can get of your participation, but counting on it may not happen for awhile. God Bless you, and any time you want to "be the church" it is waiting for you to volunteer!

Kristin said...

I agree with you; there are a lot of youth not willing to participate or commit. I suppose I didn't clarify my thoughts very well.

I guess what bothers me is not necessarily that older generations aren't willing to allow participation, because there are plenty who would love to see young people participating. I think it's the general idea of our part being something yet to come.

In fact, I distinctly remember one of the young speakers at GYC referring to young people as the future of the church, and last night Jeffrey Rosario did the same at Pentecost meeting, and both of those instances bothered me too.

I guess what it comes down to is that, in my opinion, the continual repetition of the idea that our part is yet to come at some indeterminable point in the future is crippling to the young people of the church. The problem is similar to the one I see with the phrase, "Jesus is coming soon," because the phrase has so often been used, and soon is such a nondescript term that can (to some) give the impression of being years and years down the road.

I think that young people have a responsibility in breaking out of this mindset as well. It is our duty to take initiative to serve in the church. But it is also a joint effort that the older generation can facilitate by not further ingraining in our minds that our time is not yet. And of course, these are generalizations again.

I hope I've clarified and not muddied the waters further. Thank you for your comment; I see your point and I agree with you.

Jason said...

I was just thinking about this the other day and I totally agree.

We are now.