Today I was talking to a friend about my faults. I have many, and one of them is my lack of motivation for things I don’t see as important or worthwhile. If I have something to do that I know I should do, but fail to see it as valuable, effective or fruitful, I have a hard time doing. I am definitely the student who said “why do I have to learn this if I’m never gonna use it”. I am working on just doing what I need to do, even if I think it’s pointless, but I find the number of kindred spirits growing. My generation, the Xers and the generations to follow seem more than unmotivated, they seem unwilling to do things they don’t find valuable.
This is impacting churches, we are seeing individuals leaving church and the main reason is, they don’t see value in Sunday Morning. They don’t feel the message is valuable, they don’t feel like they are really connecting with people, they don’t feel like the worship time is of value, and they would rather stay home. They are uninterested and disengaged. They want authenticity, they are finding it in Bible Study at home, in groups of friends but not at church. Why? Here are a few of my thoughts, feel free to disagree.
1. We have stopped being real. Sunday Morning is a great time for everyone to play the role of Happy Christian, because our people judge each other, gossip and slander. People are afraid to admit problems at church because they “prayer chain” will ignite with stories of “can you believe that. . . .” Christians often eat their wounded, so we hide the wounds and act like we have it all together. I admit, I’ve done it, it’s easier than having people tell me how to fix my problems.
2. We fix everything. We, Jesus is the answer, but we have stopped listening to the question. When a 27 year old guy says “I can’t make my marriage work” we will tell him all the things he needs to do better. Guess what, he’s not coming back. He doesn’t need Dr. Phil, he needs a Paul and he is longing to be Timothy. He needs support, not advice. We have advice, and lots of it.
3. We think of the church as the only activity in people’s lives. I have been on full time staff, I have spent most of my waking hours in the church, it’s easy to forget people don’t live to come to church. Guess what, they don’t. Jesus came to the temple often, but most of His ministry was in communities, on the roads and off the beaten path. He called guys down from trees, talked to a woman at a well, almost got thrown off a cliff, taught on a hill, out of a boat and fed people when town was too far. He did ministry out, do we expect people to spend so much time in the building they don’t have time for ministry? That lacks some authenticity, if we value our communities, let’s serve them.
Now this isn’t an exhaustive list, and others have written far better works on this subject. Check out Millennials By Dr Rainer, great stuff. Today I wanted to share this because it’s on my heart. I want to be more like Jesus, more authentic and less guarded, hidden and secret. I hope you’ll join me.