The Pastor’s Piece
The other day, I was talking to a young man in his mid 20’s with a young family. I was telling him about our church in Martintown, Wisconsin and everything that’s been happening lately and down through the years since my wife and I have been here and so blessed by God.
We talked about the times in which we live with all the cultural turmoil, the Covid virus, vaccines, the political unrest, last year’s election, cattle futures, gas prices, and the church. He grew up in a Christian home and went to a Bible-believing church his whole life. He was active in the youth group. He had solid Bible teaching and he has a genuine love for the Lord but he’s losing interest in the church.
His comment to me was: “How is the church relevant to people my age?”
I asked: “What do you mean? We have Sunday school and Bible school for your children, and special events throughout the year and we love talking to you on Sunday.”
His response was: “Yeah – you have nice facilities and programs and nice people, but we have student debt, family stress, job stress, time restraints, and other certain issues that your generation doesn’t seem to relate to.
“I’m not that worried about the times we live in,” he said, “every generation has had their own issues to overcome. Your grandparent’s issue was WWII and Nazism. Your parents’ issue was nuclear war and communism. Your generation was abortion. Our’s are things like national debt and socialism. We’ll get through them just like you got through yours’ and we’ll raise our families to love the Lord just like you did yours. It will all work out but you guys worry too much and we don’t really relate to all your rhetoric.”
I was glad for that conversation because it was an answer to prayer. I’ve been praying about how we can encourage young families – it’s easy to go on and on about how bad things are, but how do we encourage? I’m concerned for his generation and what we see as serious, irreversible cultural issues.
Times have definitely changed. What worked in the church 10 or 20 years ago isn’t necessarily working today. I know the Bible never changes and people all have the same spiritual needs that have been the basic needs of the human soul since the beginning of time – but the way we reach them changes all the time.
In my childhood and much of my adulthood, church was a cultural stable. Even if you didn’t go to church, it was recognized as an important tenet in society. It was respected and honored. There was basically one God and one religion with many different branches. We didn’t have to contend with a bunch of other religions “competing” with Christitanity.
Creation was the settled science behind life. As students, we were taught creation and evolution side by side. Creation was taught as science and evolution as theory. Creation certainly had the upper hand. Our collective biggest worry in the world was the Soviet Union and communism. Now, the idea of socialism, according to George Barna, is almost as popular as capitalism in our country.
That conversation got me thinking. This twenty-something year old wanted to know why he should come to church?
That’s a legitimate question. You know why the church is relevant to every generation? It’s relevant because God’s Word, the Bible, is timeless and relevant to every generation of people. We, the people, are the Church. It’s not supposed to be an institution where we get together, go through a set of rituals and formalities and then go home.
I received a letter this week that said in essence: We come to church because we are yearning for more courage and less fear, more passion and less routine, more relevance and less ignoring current events, more spontaneity and less structure. In my opinion, that sounds like what church on Sunday should be like.
We need to be equipped with God’s Word to take on the challenges we face every day of our lives. Each one of us who is born again, is a temple of God. The Holy Spirit lives in us. Collectively we hold back evil. In order to know the power of God we have to have the Holy Spirit in us. And whatever the issues are of our time and each generation, we get equipped to take them on by regularly meeting together, studying God’s Word, sharpening each other’s wits, encouraging, praying, and listening.
And, no matter what the demands are on our lives, individually and together we “resist the devil so he will flee from us,” as James 4:7 – 8 says, and individually and together we “draw near to God so He will draw near unto us.” And every opportunity we have, whatever our walk of life, we push back against evil. We don’t let a lie pass without respectfully refuting it with truth from God’s Word.
We all have issues of one kind or another, and we need each other. For the Christian, Sunday should be the most important day of the week.