Monday, August 29, 2011

What's up with the Youts?

A few months ago, I wrote a few posts (post 1/post 2) on community in the church.  These came out of things happening in the church we were attending.  We have now returned to our old church.  When we returned, we were saddened to see that some of our friends had left.  The reason - "not enough for the youth to do."   I'm troubled by this trend because it's not the first time I have heard it.  It has been something I have heard since becoming a Christian.  It is also something happening in the world at large.  

Our world seems to revolve around our kids and their needs.  Keeping them occupied and entertained through sports, music lessons and clubs.  We are either chauffeuring them around or they are spending too much time in front of the tv.  Where does this allow for family or devotion time?  I used to balk at Dr. Kevin Leman's advice to not put kids into extra-curricular activities or only 1 per child.  However, I soooooo get this now that I will be having 2 kids in school.  The last 2 years, the princess was in rhythmic gymnastics.  Taking her, even once a week, threw a curve in our sechdule.  I cannnot even imagine if I had had her in more or if all the kids were of an age to be in 2-3 different activities each.  I think I'm going grey now?? (LOL)

The church has also taken to the youth orientated culture.  A question I keep hearing is: "How can our services be relevant to the young?"  Many services are geared musically to a younger audience and "tried and true" hymns have been given the "ol'heave hoe".  I sat in a meeting once where the worship leader said hymns "were boring and long."  Now I won't disagree that some are long, but reflect on the words and see the great lessons in them.  One of my favourite hymns, Great is Thy Faithfulness, is a terrific reminder that no matter what He is faithful.  The words breathe His faithfulness.  I find hymns as relevant today as they were when first written.  Of course, they may not have "a good beat", nor could you probably dance to them, but church is not a dance club.  Do not get me wrong though, I'm not saying you cannot dance in church.  I love clapping and moving around, but this is a place to worship in community with young and old.  It is a place where we should be teaching our young people how to respect their elders who have a lot to teach.  It is not a place where our elders need to compromise their faith to accommodate another's needs.

Titus 2 is generally thought of as the scripture passage where the old women are to mentor the young women.  But if you look at v. 2, it talks about teaching the old men to be reverent, as well.  Through watching our elders lives and listening to their wisdom, we will learn.  I am glad to be a part of a church with strong elders.  I love seeing my children learn and build relationships with people who have been through war, famine, death, depression, marriage, raising children, raising grandchildren, etc...  In fact, in some churches I have attended, the people who welcomed me the most were the seniors.  I have enjoyed getting to know them and spending time with them.  

Psalm 71:18 says:

Even when I am old and gray,
   do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
   your might to all who are to come.  (NIV 84)
If we continue on the trend to ignore our seniors or balk at their ideas or even to push them aside for something newer and cooler, we disallow God to work through them in our lives.  We are not created knowing everything.  We need to learn from those who have been "around the block a few times."   And remember, you will one day be those seniors that are scoffed at today, tomorrow.  How would you like to be treated?

I'm linking up today with the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood at Finding Heaven.


Shanda said...

I really agree with you. Our society ,even the church, is pushing out the old as the youth take over, often with a lack of appreciation of the wisdom of the older generation. What i have found, which is ironic, is that the younger in leadership have far less regard for what they can learn from the older generation than the average younger adult in the church.

Jen said...

Wow -- I think you make a really good point -- one that I never really considered. Our church has 3 services, so I feel like everyone can choose the one that they feel most comfortable, and yet, this means that there are lots of people that I do not know in my church.

I think the other thing that I might add -- when people say that "there isn't anything for the youth" why are they not motivated to make something for them?

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I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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