It’s not you, it’s me……

I recently read a list of complaints about the church which was written by a young man. It touched on the variety of factors which the author felt has led to young people feeling disengaged, disillusioned, disappointed, and just “dissed” by the church. He cited his list of issues as being central to understanding why so many millennials no longer attend church. The facts are that fewer people of ALL age groups attend church now and while young people often view their issues as unique, they’re not. 

The truth is, at one time or another, we’ve all felt (and may continue to feel) as though our church wasn’t listening to us. That isn’t something unique to churches either. You’re going to feel ignored at work, at home, and among your friends. The church is made up of flawed and sinful people—like you and me. My advice to you is: get over it. If you feel ignored, speak up. Volunteer. You don’t need an invitation to give your time and money to a ministry or project. Just do it. Most churches are chronically in need of more helping hands. You won’t be ignored for long if you’re showing up to help. 

The author despairs that the church isn’t doing enough to help the poor. This might be true for his particular church, but churches do an enormous amount of charitable work. They feed, clothe, educate, and provide medical care to millions of people around the world every single day. If you are in a church that isn’t doing enough for the poor, then start doing it yourself. Open a food bank. Start a soup kitchen. Organize a clothes closet. The poor are always with us and we can always do more to help them.  

He bemoans that his church is not welcoming to newcomers. Does he make it a point to introduce himself to those he doesn’t know? Has he ever invited a visitor for coffee after church? Does he stand at the door and shake hands, hand out bulletins, offer directions or answer questions before church begins?  

The author says that young people want to feel valued. Who doesn’t? We all want to feel that we matter and that we’re contributing members of something greater than ourselves. But this doesn’t happen automatically. Your church can’t value or appreciate someone they don’t know. Are you attending church services? Have you volunteered for ministry service? Have you ever attended a Bible study, a church picnic, or a planning meeting? We have to be willing to sacrifice ourselves for our church, just as Jesus sacrificed everything for her.  

The article goes on to list all the things “the church” could do to improve and to change. The truth is the church is you, it’s me, it’s all of us. If the church has problems, it’s because I have problems. If the church needs help, it’s because I need help. It’s easy to say that you’re not getting anything out of church. The real issue is: what am I bringing to the church? Do I lay myself and my life at His altar and pray that He will use me to enrich His church?

“We are forbidden to neglect the assembling of ourselves together. Christianity is already institutional in the earliest of its documents. The Church is the Bride of Christ. We are members of one another.”

              —–C.S. Lewis

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brian H. Gill
    Jul 10, 2017 @ 01:25:28

    Agreed.

    In fairness, this is probably the first time this young man has experienced – or noticed – these issues. So they are, in a sense, new and unique: to him.

    It takes a long time, at least it did for me, to realize that although no two humans are alike; we all share a remarkably uniform set of experiences, once a person starts looking past the surface at the underlying principles at work.

    I think you have a point: if there’s something not being done right, there’s a good chance the person who noticed may also be the best person to start correcting it.

    Personal experience confirms that volunteering is an excellent way to ‘get noticed’ by a church. One of the advantages of being young and single was having free time that made volunteering possible.

    For me, it was also a good opportunity to learn more about the folks in that church; and get to know them better.

    Reply

  2. SR
    Jul 11, 2017 @ 00:52:32

    Good post, Judy! I agree with all you said. God bless, SR

    Reply

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