Saturday, June 20, 2009

They Like Jesus but Not the Church

Just a few notes about some things I'm digging into as of late.

I could write pages and pages and get off on 500 tangents about different issues and questions and answers in all of this, but rather than try to articulate what I'm thinking and feeling...I just wanna get down my initial thoughts.

I took a class on Postmodernism this semester and read some great books on emerging generations and how our culture is changing. One of the less scholarly, but most compelling of these books was They Like Jesus But Not The Church by Dan Kimball. And recently, I picked up a copy of Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. Both books have raised some good points and questions about my generation and my faith...and made challenges to how we are to go about combining the two in a way that really works and makes sense.

This is something I'm really concerned with. The methods of evangelism my grandparents used, doesn't work very well on people my age. I wonder if older people in churches can't see that? Many of the older people in churches, were younger people once, frustrated with the older people in the church that wouldn't allow growth or good change to happen in their congregations (such as in worship music, etc.) Are they becoming the same but a new generation? Are we praying and asking for growth and change while they do the same old same old and ignore it when it doesn't work?

Dan Kimball points out that most churches don't have a very large group of people in their 20s. No one seems to care, or at any rate really notice that this age group is missing. You have high school age and children, and you have their parents and other adults. Where are these emerging generations going? Is this normal? Do they come back when they're older? I'm starting to lean towards the fact that they don't. In fact the Church doesn't have the best reputation with emerging generations. But while I wonder and search for all the reasons and factors...I at least know its true. Just today I was looking at big churches websites online in the area and I noticed many of them, though having lots of ministries for adults and children, didn't have anything for 20-somethings. I really wasn't expecting that. I figured hey, they still have the ministries even if they aren't well attended right?

Another small note I'm wrestling with that is brought up in both books is how people view the Church versus how the view Jesus.

I don't think people are closed minded to Jesus, his teachings, his message...the gospel. I think it's us. We're the turn off...the people who've given a bad image of Christianity, and who most people really want nothing to do with. (And I can hardly blame them).

I'll end with a quote:

"Jesus is more compelling than ever. More inviting, more true, more mysterious than ever. The problem isn't Jesus; the problem is what comes with JEsus. For many people the word Christian conjures up all sorts of images that have nothing to do with who Jesus is or how he taught us to live. This must change." - Velvet Elvis

Similarly, Dan Kimball talks about many interviews and conversations he had where people were really very open to Jesus...but not to Christians.

Okay so these are just some issues raised among many...and obviously not my whole thoughts on anything...but I just wanted to put it out there...I really want to find out how I can live out my faith in a uplifting way that shows Christ's love rather than causing more damage and I can see that people my age are getting turned off my my faith and I want to redeem that.

More later...