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Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Problem with Reaching Young People

I am a baby-boomer. I am afraid that my generation didn't especially like the standards of the preceding generation. We rebelled because we wanted something different. We called it our freedom to express ourselves. We fooled ourselves so well that we didn't even know when we were lying to ourselves.
We grew our hair long, ignored most social more's and protested the things our parents held dear. We were drawn in my things that looked good and people who sounded good. We failed to challenge whether or not these things were true. We came up with the phrase, "if its right for you" and believed that was a good enough answer for anyone's behavior.

Time passed and we cut our hair and got jobs. We had children that we promised to raise differently than our parents raised us. We wanted things to look good but did not have the foundation for them to actually be good. So we worked on our image and went where we thought our image would be improved. We cared very little about whether that image was true.

A new generation grew up and realized what fakes we were. They didn't want to work in our businesses the way we did. They didn't want to go to our churches. They wanted something real. We thought we could entice them with glitz and they just weren't interested.

The generation that follows the boomers is not lazy or uninterested. They are unimpressed. They want someone to say something that isn't looking for show alone. They want someone they can trust. They would join us if we were trustworthy and could honestly give them something meaningful.

Our churches will reach young people if we will honestly admit that we don't have it all together. Our testimonies must be those that reflect a genuine spiritual change. We must admit our failures and confess our sins if we are to see that they will ever believe us.

The problem with reaching young people is not going to be in the music we offer on Sunday mornings. It will not be so much in the beauty of our facilities (that, of course, will determine if you will reach baby-boomers). It will be whether or not we are real.

Young adults are looking for people meaning in their lives like each generation before them. However, they are unwilling to settle for whitewashed tombs that look so good on the outside but are full of dead men's bones.

The problem with reaching young people is when I am just enough of a Christian to be one on the outside only. They want to see something deeper than that.

Matthew 23:27-28 (ESV)
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.
28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

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