The Too Common Question
There are some questions that everyone gets asked.
Or you feel like you hear that question too often. Last week at the Sticky Faith Cohort Summit, Steve Argue told the story about how a pastor once asked him, “How do we get young people to come to church?”.
This question has been known leave some sick to the stomach. To some it feels rhetorical, or true/false. It can even make you laugh. But to most who are in youth ministry, you’ve likely physically sweated over the answer.
When you think of the relationship of the church and adolescents, you often see a relationship in decline. Obviously there’s a systematic and underlying issue that’s pushing one away from the other nationally. It’s essentially conflict between two parties.
In Matthew 5, Jesus says, Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
Steve paused for the moment on the question. He wondered if there was a bigger, underlying issue. He told our cohort that he then counter-proposed that pastor by asking, “How do we get the church to come to young people?”.
Has your church left a certain demographic “hanging”? Has it left the college students in town without a place to worship? Do the high school students feel served and encouraged in their faith? Is that group affirming that they have what they need? Maybe we need to ask ourselves the right questions before we express concern for others.
In any case: Before you ask to how to restore the relationship, maybe you should reconcile and find out why they left.
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