Mark Driscoll (pastor of Mars Hill in Seattle) says something like this in one of his recent messages: "Some churches love their traditions more than their children." They love the way they've always done it, however irrelevant and outdated it becomes, more than they love their kids.
That's harsh, but I basically agree. I can't see into their hearts, but it seems like they love their traditions more than their kids. I'm glad my kids love our church. They like coming to services. I think that's true for most of our church's students and kids. They not only want to be here they keep bringing their friends to join them.
Yeah, we lose some kids too. But that's the exception. And yeah, some of our kids look for something different after graduating because this is, after all, their parent's church. But again, that's the exception. Why? Because we change our form over time without compromising the mission and the message.
But we also are in danger of loving our tradition more than our kids. If we don't look and feel different in five or ten years--if we don't keep changing--we'll fall into the same trap.
So what about the older crowd? Since I'm 48, and that's pretty old, let's call it the over 47 crowd. It's not a crowd yet, but it's growing. We might be heard asking, "What are you doing for me?" If you're asking that question, here are some thoughts:
- Listen to yourself. Analyze that question honestly and biblically. Please!
- My grandmother was a dapper dresser until she became "old." Then she wore "old clothes." I don't know if you've noticed, but most old people don't wear old clothes anymore. Yeah, their styles are different, but they're not that different. Maybe it's time, metaphorically speaking, to quit wearing old clothes.
- Are you a boomer? (We don't have many non-Boomer older folks.) You listened to loud music when you were young. I know you did. Are you wearing "old clothes" now when it comes to music?
- Have you noticed that the older you get the less your contemporaries are open to change? Have you seen the stats on conversion rates for the over 47 crowd? On the other hand, have you seen how open kids, students and adults with small children are to returning to church and turning to Christ? Do you really think that a church that appeals to the already churched over 47 crowd whose tastes are old and churchy will appeal to the younger crowd that is most likely to drop out or has already dropped out and is now ready to re-enter?
- Is there any chance you could get excited about being part of a church that kids and students love and young families flock to? Could you get excited enough to get in the game and help reach the ripest harvest fields?
Here's the cool thing about Five Oaks: it seems to me that most of our over 47 crowd is excited about being part of that kind of church. Of course, I could be out of touch. If so, I'd like to hear about it. Am I out of touch with reality? Post your comments.