What’s Happening to the Church?
Our theme for this year’s youth month is “It’s a God Movement”. There are several definitions of the word movement; however the one that stood out to me is movement as being a change in place or position.
As God’s people, we are expected to be forever growing in Christ. 2nd Peter 3:18 adamantly states
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity”.
Sadly, God’s people have become stagnant. There is a lack of movement. God’s people have become too lazy; they have become too comfortable and quite frankly they have begun to fail in their greatest mission, winning souls for Christ. No wonder we see empty church benches every Sunday but any other event it’s packed till it’s overflowing.
Our churches are dying and becoming insignificant when God has ordained the church to be the pillar of the community. Are we not seeing what is taking place around us or have we lost our vision too? Nevertheless, most importantly, a solution must be found to save our future generation.
Now, I’m no expert, and I’ll be the first to admit I have a long way to go in Christ but bear with me as I endeavor to enlighten you on how the church can help youths to follow Christ as well as how the teens can help themselves.
How can the church aid the youths?
Great powers of reasoning will make it known to one that to induce a Christ-like lifestyle onto a youth will be easier done if they can see you living such a lifestyle too. 1st John 2:6 states
“whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked”
Now, no one says you have to be perfect but look at it in this light. If you tell a youth don’t drive while on your cell phone but two minutes later you’re on the phone with Aunty Patsy speeding down the highway. Which advice do you think they will obey? The advice you have just verbally given or the actions they have seen with their own eyes?
It’s the same in the spiritual realm. You can’t tell the youths pray every day when you barely pray or try to attend church every Sunday when you barely make it once a month. It’s hypocritical, and that’s actually steering the young people away from God rather than to Him.
This actually leads me to ask you a question of some magnitude, can people look at you and see you’re a Christian? Seriously take a moment to ponder and fairly evaluate yourself. When you go out into the world, whether your workplace, school, etc; can people tell you’re a Christian by your actions?
If you are honest with yourself, some of you engage in the latest gossip, you complain if Maggie from over the hill asks for some money to help feed her children. Then when you tell people, you’re a Christian and try to share God’s word with them, and they pay you no mind, you wonder why they can’t respect the fact that you’re a Christian.
Some of you may be the only link that youth/non-believer has to Christianity, and if they can’t tell the difference between your walk and their walk, then they’re not going to follow God’s path. One cannot be holy on Sunday and of the world on Monday. Galatians 1:10 states:
“For do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
People should see that you’re a Christian by your actions and not think you’re a Christian because you’re acting. However, there are some whose actions are not of the Lord, but you’re just putting on a show. It’s a really serious problem when the only people who can tell you’re a Christian are the ones who go to your church.
As God’s people, you should be able to walk down the road, and non-believers can see God shining through you. It’s only then that these non-believers and youths will say I don’t understand this God thing, I don’t understand how Mary have bills to pay, but she’s still filled with joy. How does Sandra being a single mother has no worries? But I can see that God is doing something in them, and I want Him to do something for me too.
Another way for the church to get the youths closer to God is to stop judging them.
When we see unfamiliar faces enter the church, and they appear to be inappropriately dressed, in our eyes, for the house of the Lord, the church tends to look down on them.
We hear the whispers, “Hmph, where he is going looking like that, oh but what it is she got on, look at all those tattoos on their skin!”
And do you know, honestly, when I was writing this I was ready to attack the church with verses such as “Judge not lest ye be judged” and “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone”.
However, upon research, I learnt that these verses DO NOT support the form in which I’m trying to use judgment, although the Bible promotes righteous judgment. Take heed to John 7:24,
“Judge not according to the appearance but judge righteous judgment.”
The simple fact that they are coming to church means they are seeking God, maybe not as aggressively as you would like, but they make a start.
Don’t cast them away, after all, the church is not just a place for Christians to come and fellowship but view it as a hospital for the broken, for those who have lost their way and need to be made whole in the Lord.
Embrace the youths without forcing Christianity down their throats. If their appearance is bothering you that much, then pull them aside and tell them I appreciate you coming to church, but I can give you a few garments that are more appropriate.
If you’re cheap like me, then suggest they get a longer skirt, a slacker dress or a jacket to cover up the tattoos. Simple gestures like that can go a long way.
Finally, and this can’t be stressed enough, times are changing! Breaking tradition is okay. Every Sunday doesn’t need to be preaching, preaching, and preaching.
I guarantee if you have to preach about Salvation and then the next Sunday you teach about it, the youths will retain more of the message through teaching than preaching; and nope this is not up for discussion.
Now I’ve been focusing on the church but what about the youths? What can we do for ourselves? How can we make a greater impact on the church?
I’ll tell you how; we can start by stop claiming that ‘I’m too young’ to do certain things, and begin to act maturely. Some of us act like adults by the age of 16, and yes I’m guilty of it too, so why can’t we behave like adults and do things that are beneficial to our lives, our souls, the one decision that can make or break us.
Some of us claim to be saved and almost ready to serve the Lord. We should not be luke-warm Christians where we appear righteous on the outside but live a sinful life; but rather we need to be righteous in the Lord instead of living ‘right-ish.’ When God doesn’t answer our prayers or our life seem to be taking a turn for the worse, we wonder why.
The truth of the matter is you can’t expect a full-time pay by doing a part-time job. We can’t call on God when it’s convenient for us and then the rest of the time ignore Him.
It doesn’t work like that! When we don’t experience what pastor is preaching about or what Sis. Nolma, Shanica and Wanda are testifying about, it’s no fault but our own.
If you are really going to be a child of God, you need to show more interest and involve yourself more in the church. For example, about a year ago, Sister Wanda probably wouldn’t have been able to get me to do this but through my decision to avail myself more to God here I am.
As I said earlier, I have a long way to go in God, but I’m making progress. Don’t look at me and worry about what Jamoia is doing. Worry about why you’re not advancing in Christ and what you can do to alter that. That’s my plea to the youths including myself. It’s a God movement, and you don’t want to be left behind!