Monday, October 12, 2009

Where Is My Generation?

George Barna, a Christian statistician, say's that 20 somethings are the least likely people in America to attend a church service. This is no real shock as churches around the country have really struggled to reel this age group into lasting service in the church. College is an obstacle as well as juggling schedules, but what bothers me is the fact that so many of the reason's that the 2,000 plus polled gave for not attending had nothing to do with theology. It was things like school, work, etc. Some said the church had nothing to offer them, some said churches were outdated and irrelevant to society. These were the alarming statistics to me. School and work...Whatever. There are campus churches, and there are bodies in the college towns to get involved in. The Church should be first, not attended if you have some extra time and aren't tired from a long week. But to say the church is irrelevant is sad and misguided. The vast majority of the world's services are performed by that "irrelevant" Church. People are fed, crippled are cared for, homeless are sheltered, addicts are counseled and held accountable, hospitals are run, food programs, children are adopted, abortion is fought, art is made, and I do not have the time to write the rest. These are all services necessary for our civilization to function. Christ is at work in all of these things. To say the Church is irrelevant is ignorant. To say that it offers you nothing is an incorrect way of looking at the Church. Do you leave your family because they offer you nothing, or perceive it that way? No. You get involved and care for them, such should be done with the Church. We all know the famous speech by President Kennedy, when he says "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

The same should be said of our churches. We have the tendency to blame the church when we are confronted by people for sin or for our wrong thinking. He hate to be told we are wrong because we are proud, so some of us get angry, shake our fists to the Church and walk away, citing the Church's judgement. We then preach how the Church is close minded and judgemental all because we are too proud to be confronted. Whether the confrontation came in love or not, if it is true, it is true. Jesus was not always gentle in his criticism, He was loving, but He was also sharp at times. Like responding to Peter with, "Get behind me Satan." Truth is truth. Get over it.

Then there are those that cite the Church as boring or just not my style. Wow. Read the Bible, the service described was not packed full of entertainment. They were readings from scrolls. Sounds fun. But it was never all about the format, it was the relationships, and I fear these are what people fear the most and avoid.

Then there are those that never give anything they don't like the idea of, a fair shake. reject it from the get go, and say really dumb things about people who worship.

The point is, the Church is Jesus' bride. His most beloved work. His blood.

How can we walk away and say such things? People are imperfect, but the Church is perfect and should be our greatest mission.


™Zombiehaven 2008. All ideas and photos are copyrighted under Zombiehaven. Anything used from this site, must have written permission.


  1. In my experience as a "20 something" in the suburban church, apart from very sorted feel good occasional get togethers, I have yet to once see as part of a church culture the practice of people being fed, crippled cared for, or homeless sheltered. With that said most of the addicts I know including my recovering self are people who, in their 20's, were once part of a church and feel alienated and shunned rather than counselled and held accountable.

    To say the Church is irrelevant is ignorant, is ignorant. Or at the very least unfortunately short-sighted. The great psychological struggle of the 20's is that of identity. Who the hell am I and how do I fit into this life? Do you leave your family once you become an adult? In a sense yes, yes you do. You move out of your parents house, you get a job, you become an individual, some get married, you make mistakes, and you grow up. Most of us don't have to get involved and care for our families until we're much older.

    Also, the quote from President Kennedy is sadly just one side of a two-sided coin as well. Show me a church that prepares its young people to keep walking when they fall short of their own high ideals and I'll show you a church that retains its people in their 20's. Show me a church that actually practices accountability and loving confrontation as opposed to destructive background chit chat and I'll show you a healthy body. Confrontation and accountability that builds up is the kind that is ready to join in the fight for a better life, not just to point out and step to the sideline. In the business world its called being proactive, not reactive.

    Also, the church is Jesus' bride. His body, meaning that universal conglamerate of His redeemed children. The context of that has very little to do with the local expression of faith known as "the church." He did not pour his blood out for a building, or an auditorium, or a living room, or a special service, youth group, outreach, mission trip vacation, etc.. His blood paid a ransom for hostages that otherwise were to be thrown out and left for what awaits in the decomposition. That includes those that have fallen asunder by the local expression's less than perfect job of remaining relevant.

  2. I was reading Galatians not too long ago and something Paul said struck me. It's funny how now as a man near 30, far aware of my own limitations and comfortable with those in context to my strengths, can see things completely different now then when I was a younger man reading the same text. He said of the Church in Judea that they never met him but had only heard that the man who persecuted the church was now preaching the gospel and bc of that they rejoiced. It reminded me of the parable in Matthew where the landowner goes and gathers workers in the morning and agrees to pay them a certain amount. As the day goes on he repeats this several times and when it came time for the paychecks, the early crew was a little pissed that the late crew was receiving the same wage.

    Point is, a relevant and perfect church has open arms, open hearts, open love, and closed mouths until a time comes where it has earned the right to speak. A perfect church remembers that the last is the first and the first is the last, and doesn't feel entitlement for time served. A relevant church holds accountable by action and behavior or it remains silent and prayerful. A relevant church that I believe could tap into 20 somethings is a church that is always ready to say, "all I know about this guy is even though he was there and did this, he's here now, and that's freaking awesome!"

    Adam, I appreciate your heart and have always thought of you as a pretty genuine guy. Life or God I suppose has taught me to really not give a shit about what everyone else thinks about me as long as I'm holding my own, the best I can, for the things that are most important. People say a lot of things as their reasons behind a lot of behavior. In sales one of the most common objections for not making a decision is "I have to ask my wife." People usually have reasons for everything and I would contend that more often than not you are going to get the easiest answer as opposed to the real scenario. Dig deeper. Ask more questions. Sometimes caring more means reaching less.

  3. Notice the capitalization of the word Church every time I use it. I realize that Church is not just a building and that it goes beyond the local congregation by far, but how do we commit to The Church outside of local congregations? We don't meet and gather together as the Bible calls it with people in Uganda that believe if we are not missionaries there. The Epistles were written as circular chain letters to local gatherings. There IS a value in the local gatherings.

    "I have yet to once see as part of a church culture the practice of people being fed, crippled cared for, or homeless sheltered." To be honest, this is all Living Water does. This is why we are still in a middle school, because our money goes to local missions in which we volunteer every week, every day of those weeks. Yet we lose 20 somethings to flashy churches that have more "Programs" and cool buildings, not saying those things are wrong, or that those churches aren't doing the same things we are, but reasons for leaving, seldom ever involve the lack of purpose or mission to those Jesus called us to.

    "Show me a church that prepares its young people to keep walking when they fall short of their own high ideals and I'll show you a church that retains its people in their 20's." I think this is the parents job, not the local bodies job. Too many people put the blame on the local church for things lacking in the home. God called us to raise our children up in the way and when they get older, they will not flee from it. Part of being a parent is planning for these things, not just having a kid and taking things day by day. Planning for the future of your kids and acting on those plans is what builds those values in the young adult.

    People can be proud, I get it. I have been a million times. It is really easy ad common for the blame to be diverted to others or in this case, The Church when we are unable to take correction and accountability. Many want to do what they want to do and when they are held accountable, they call the church judgmental and arrogant instead of taking a long hard look at their own pride. Can't even tell you how many times I was confronted and got pissed and wanted to blame others when I was wrong. Some don't know how to hold another accountable, so they say and do things that are harsh or are done devoid of love. This is wrong, but if it is true, it is still true, if not, it's garbage.

    Some judge. Go anywhere and it is the same thing. This isn't exclusive of the Church. The Church should know better and set a better example, but it still is an imperfect church because of it's people, but the Church that God is building is perfect, however stupid it's people are.

    In life, giving up on it is never the right option. Especially when we are looking at it the way Christ does, as family.

    Read your blog man, love it.You should write more.

  4. Thanks, I write a lot but most of it just makes it to my myspace blog. Old habits, as the say...

    Anyhow, the fact is that the church ofen is arrogant and judgmental. And sadly people suffer for it.

    Here is another fact. There is and has been a problem with people in their 20's leaving churches. In every parting of ways there are two stories, and in most cases both stories hold truth. In my experience people can't see past their own noses when in conflict. That's why I didn't go out and disagree with anything you said, per se, but moreso I felt like you were missing the other side of the coin.

    Of course there is value in local gatherings. Don't miss my point.

    And with all the roles of a good parent aside. what is a church's responsibility when parents don't do their job? what role should a church play when parents aren't submissive to God's will? it may stand to reason that if the parents of these 20 something's who are in exodus from their churches were raising their children in the ways that were right...... i'm sure you see where i'm going with this.

    Anyhow, hopefully you didn't feel like my comment was an attack. As a guy who has been nearly a youth pastor, to addicted to pain killers for years, to fathering two children with two different out of marriage partners, one of which I will probably only see when she comes knocking on my door one day wanting to know "why daddy why," to just a dude whose almost thirty and buckling down on the quiet important things that I can control.... i thought i'd offer my perspective.

    go in peace mofo.

  5. Um, the 'church' can be very rude if not crazy at times. For example, I don't attend said church currently. However, someone felt the need to talk trash about me because I used the word 'shit' online. I am several thousands of miles away. Well, the above commenter would be 'confronted' based on this at Zombie's church by so-and-so. Yeah, who cares? Does it matter? NO! People of all ages can make mistakes and decide that they don't have time to help where there is need. The same people who might not 'serve' at a church might help at a local school. Does it have eternal benefits? NO! Does doing what is boldly preached and done at Zombie's church bring in 20 somethings? Who cares? It is right and despite the people who talks trash and does dumb things it is right anyway. Just had to chime in on this.

  6. I know it was Alaskan Ray Because he posted it like three times before he realized there was comment approval lol. Miss you buddy...despite your foul mouth.

  7. stop using those filthy words Ray! what a poor witness. lol.

    great discussion gang! can't really add to this one. i've belonged to two churches. i only left the first one because i think the doctrine of the church didn't line up with scripture. btw,(if you read this) thanks for pointing all those issues out for me Matt. lol.

  8. Kevin, not really sure what issues you mean. It's hard to tell a person's tone in a thread but you've never really been a sarcastic ass that I have known so, you're welcome I suppose.

  9. I think he was talking about the Catholic Church maybe, that was the other one at least.

  10. ha, jenny..... holy crap i almost forgot about father jude and the christmas eve service from what? 1998? ha! double ha! and yeah, I guess that makes a lot more sense. Kevin, remember when we put the post its with bible verses all over the little rose chapel?

  11. Adam, the Internet is crazy slow here, and it has nothing to do with it being me. It is that I kept clicking hoping that the page would load to see if it had posted. I see that MatthewSTaylor said 'ass' so you should yell at him too. LOL! Jennie, you comment was the best.

    that had to be one of the creepiest places on earth.

    oh, i was indeed talking about the Catholic church.