Recently, I’ve been studying for a series on relationships for our High School Students. Working only with Middle School students before, I’ve never had the opportunity to talk about this subject before. Our church chooses to give parents of 5th and 6th grade students ample opportunities to lead the conversation before the church aids the family. So this will be new for me.
It’s been challenging.
One of the things in studying that is sticking out to me is just how much a consumer driven culture has began to define everything. Certainly marriage is seeing the brunt of that, but it’s far more reaching.
In fact, I came across this article that I shared on twitter and Facebook and this quote has stuck in my brain for the last few hours:
Youth groups rarely encourage young people to grapple with tough questions. Instead the goal seems to be to engineer events that ratchet up emotional commitment.
It caused me to stop and think about church. There are quite a few attitudes from folks that help reveal how much consumerism has seeped into our culture and how the church desires to solve it emotionally rather than with true spiritual transformation.
Here’s a few attitudes that you might want to be on the lookout for.
This church isn’t meeting my needs vs. How am I meeting the needs of my church?
This is probably the one that the church workers will stand up and yell about but we are just as guilty of this attitude. How often are you mingling in other departments trying to serve them? How often are you asking if what you are working on falls in line with the vision of the house? Are you looking critically at how the church allocates funds based on your personal opinion or the opinion of Scripture?
Event driven vs. Group Driven
Our churches are becoming more and more about events. I’m not just talking about single events, but the weekend service is becoming an event, our training is becoming an event and even we are making our relationships with others out to be events.
We can neglect the time and sacrifice of meaningful relationship just by wanting to get people to gather. If transformation is the goal in our groups, time with God is of utmost importance, not garnering excitement.
Attendance over Discipleship
Attendance has become the most important metric in the Evangelical Church. How sad that the gathering of people is more important than life transformation. This isn’t a criticism of people attending churches in large groups, but our culture is shifting where emotional connection won’t be popular. It won’t be ok to go to church in the next 20 – 30 years.
Our faith will be tested. True discipleship is lacking.
I wonder if Jesus had spent more time with the crowds than with his disciples what the world would have looked like.
I know for one I’m challenged. I want the students that I work with to have real, founded, grounded faith. I want them to see Christ and who He is as the only way of life. I want them to thirst for God’s word more than the next party, event, gathering, service, etc.
Pray for your youth pastors. The middle ground of foundation building in Children’s and trying to balance the consumerism culture of adulthood is a daunting task. We need brave souls.