I’ve looked around at a number of differing churches. Churches have different “proof” requirements, some are snake biters, some dunkards, some tongue talkers, then there are those that merely expect or demand that hair, dresses, or pants be a certain length or color, or that hats or beards be required. In 1990 85% of the United States population professed to be Christian. Today only 45% of the population state they attend church.
One of the most difficult problems that churches deal with today is growth or more specifically, lack of growth. It seems that the pre-college age youth are pulled away from church. The Federal Government has mandated expanded sporting programs for all genders and ages. Schools high school and colleges have expanded sporting events throughout the week, leaving nothing open for church youth programs. Parents wanting their children to experience sports outside of school enroll them in intramural and traveling programs. If the youth are not in sporting events then they’re engrossed in electronic games. Sitting in a church program is too dull and slow moving to keep kids interest excited! The music and messages of most churches are boring and the members are old grandparent types. Most church people are hypocrites so why associate with them? “These church hypocrites keep pointing a finger at me for doing what they do all the time!” So says the youth.
I just finished a second reading of a book that I had read a long time ago, by a guy named Yancy, “What’s so Amazing about Grace”. He has so many examples that they’re too many to mention here, but ONE train of thought jumped out at me.
“Jesus came to earth to show us grace. Jesus died on the cross to show us the Grace of God. And, finally, the most graceLESS people on earth are Christians” . Yancy explains that while Christians are given Grace, they don’t know how to show it or live it or share it. Maybe that’s why young people don’t like church.
My wife and I have a history of changing churches every ten years or so. It used to be because of moving, more recently it was the ever changing politically correct theology that causes our searching. Even though we leave a church we believe we have established friendships that remain. Not long ago we returned to a former church for a funeral. In fact, we attended two different funerals at that church a couple of years apart. Both times different people confronted us with “Why are YOU here?”. I think Yancy may be right. We are graceful to our click, but graceless to anyone outside our club. Somethings just not right about that. What’s so Amazing about Grace?; the affect true gracefulness has on one and another.