Wednesday, June 22, 2011
A Word To My Generation of Church Leaders
I was born in 1974. I saw many things in church life that were hypocritical and damaging to the cause of Christ. I witnessed a fair amount of dry, dusty religion that was essentially dead. I think many of the people my age who are now leading our churches have responded to the same things I experienced while growing up. We have church leaders who are emerging in more directions than I can count. The titles of movements are enough to make even the most attention-deficit people confused. New-Reformed, Emerging, Emergent, Missional, New-Evangelical, and Ancient-Modern just to name a few. I don't have the time or space to attempt a definition at each and I doubt that I'm even capable of such a task. But here is the one thing that my generation of church leaders seem to share in common: we want genuine spirituality. We want a relationship with Christ that is real and vibrant. We want a church family that is not just meeting for social enjoyment but makes a difference in society. My concern is that many of our movements are swinging the pendulum too far in a reactionary response to what we perceived the churches to be lacking in the previous generations. I agree there has been some dead ritualism but please remember that there have also been many great and faithful saints in those churches of yesterday. I can think of some wonderful people I have known through the years who loved songs from the hymnbook, potluck dinners, KJV, and dignified church attire. God used these faithful saints to pass on The Faith to us and they deserve respect. They should not be treated as expendable or unimportant as we try to develop methods to reach a younger generation. We should be missional but we shouldn't be worldly. We should contextualize but we shouldn't try to make the church what a lost culture wants it to be. We should not be out-of-date but neither should we neglect biblical truth in an attempt to be relevant. We should "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." (Jude 3) The faith was delivered once. It was delivered for all time. It was delivered to the saints. May we continue in the richness of our Christian heritage and avoid the mistakes of the past.