This is a newsletter article I wrote for our church, check it out and let me know what YOU think:
Recently Pastor Randy gave us statistics that identified only four percent of those around 18 years of age are attending church. Four percent! Wow! Can you imagine if only four percent of those in your age group were attending church? Well imagine this: you would look to your right, your left, behind you and in front of you and guess what? No one would be there, at least no one in your age bracket.
As it has been said, our faith is only one genearation away from extinction. If we fail to share our faith in a way that relates to and speaks to the next generation, then we will fail to share our Jesus. Today’s youth has grown up in a hugely different world than you and me. They have cell phones, PSP’s, Ipods, Ipads, laptops, Iphones, Xbox and a hundred other different ways to communicate digitially or electronically. If we fail to recognize how to use these methods of communication we will fail to share the most important message they need to hear.
Facebook and Twitter have emerged as the most popular mediums to communicate for the under 30 crowd. Don’t beleive me? Try to phone one of these folks and see if they answer the phone. Facebook or tweet them and the response is almost immediate. I know because I live it each day with my own children, They don’t answer the phone, but they do answer texts.
What are we to do as the church? Should we close our doors and just use Facebook and Twitter to communicate our message? Of course not (however, some have tried just that with some “success”), but we must be sensative to those who are different than us.
Would we be so opposed to adopting the customs of those in other countries we visited for missionary purposes? No, we try to understand their culture, learn their language and be sensative to how they communicate and interact. Why is it any different with this new culture in our midst? Make no mistake the under 30 is a mission field, look around most churches and you will see a huge void of these people. The exceptions are those churches that have made it their mission (no pun intended) to seek and attract this crowd. Music, preaching style, dress and even the buildings have been designed to be palatable to the under 30’s.
I can hear many of you now: we will not change the Gospel to attract people, we have done it this way since Christ came and why should we change now? Well, truth be told, the church has changed little compared to society, but the church has adapted to society. Don’t believe me? You have a printed Bible, instead of hand-written. Many churches have TV and Radio programs (Jesus didn’t use these), most every church has a website and many broadcast their services via their websites. Churches do change, albeit slower than others.
I don’t want to change the message either, but is the message or the way the messsage is conveyed sacred? If I were to give you a cup of water in a styrofoam cup it would be water, would the water change if I were to pour that same water into a glass container? In the same the way, the message God gave to us in Christ changes not whether it is delivered in the pastor wearing a robe or a pair of Wranglers. If we want the church in America to grow and change lives we must be willing to switch containers, as God allows. If we don’t I fear we may go the way of Western Europe.
By the way, if you are reading this on a printed piece of paper in the newsletter then you are way behind many others who have already seen it on the web. Times, they are a changing. I would love to hear your feedback, agree or disagree, via my website: www.toddbfreese.com. Peace.