‘How can we stop the oil gusher?” may have been the question of the summer for most Americans. Yet for many evangelical pastors and leaders, the leaking well is nothing compared to the threat posed by an ongoing gusher of a different sort: Young people pouring out of their churches, never to return.
As a 27-year-old evangelical myself, I understand the concern. My peers, many of whom grew up in the church, are losing interest in the Christian establishment.
Recent statistics have shown an increasing exodus of young people from churches, especially after they leave home and live on their own. In a 2007 study, Lifeway Research determined that 70% of young Protestant adults between 18-22 stop attending church regularly.
Statistics like these have created something of a mania in recent years, as baby-boomer evangelical leaders frantically assess what they have done wrong (why didn’t megachurches work to attract youth in the long term?) and scramble to figure out a plan to keep young members engaged in the life of the church.
Increasingly, the “plan” has taken the form of a total image overhaul, where efforts are made to rebrand Christianity as hip, countercultural, relevant. As a result, in the early 2000s, we got something called “the emerging church”—a sort of postmodern stab at an evangelical reform movement. Perhaps because it was too “let’s rethink everything” radical, it fizzled quickly. But the impulse behind it—to rehabilitate Christianity’s image and make it “cool”—remains. Continue reading “The Perils of ‘Wannabe Cool’ Christianity – Hipster Christianity: Where Church and Cool Collide”
In the afternoon of 11th September 2001, I came home from town, I put my shopping down, turned on the TV and watched one of the worlds most shocking events in recent times unfold in front of my eyes. You can argue its possibly changed world events more then any other event of the last decade, as its lead to wars, new levels of racism, and conspiracy theories engulfing both the American and English governments.
The members of the terrorist groups responsible happened to believe in Islam
That’s right in this post, I am going to be comparing the wonders of youth work to one of the most popular movie time snacks. For some of you, you might only know pop corn in the state it comes at the cinema or in the pack from the supermarket however pop corn starts off as these little tiny kernels that are pretty rubbish really. They’re rather hard, not very tasty and a could easily be misunderstood. Just like young people really, there always seems to be a lot of fear surrounding young people in the ‘adult’ world. Look at the media we have heard loads about ASBO’s and ‘hoodies’ and youth gangs and how young people get an ‘easier time of things’ now. So where’s all the good that they do, both of us here at The Church Sofa are involved in youth work in one way or another. As for me I’ve worked as a youth worker and I’ve trained as one.
There are a few things you need to do to get the pop corn kernels to turn into nice tasty pop corn like you get at the cinema. There is a lot of potential in pop corn kernels and it takes a bit of effort to get there. First you need to have a heat source like the hob on your oven, and a sauce pan to contain it, some oil to spread the heat around and something to fuel to hob (i.e. gas or electric).
This is like working with young people there is loads of potential in young people and if you’ve been called to youth work then you’ve been called to help them become all that God has made them to be. And just like pop corn there’s a lot that needs doing. Young people need prayer, one of the most common things in Jesus’ ministry was prayer. If anyone could get away with not praying I think the Son of God who was also God would be quite a good candidate, but he prayed constantly. So let’s pray for the young people in our churches or that we work with. If you don’t know what to pray for talk to the youth worker or even (dare I say) talk to the young people, but only if you’ve been CRBed.
There also need to be people who are willing to give of their time, talents and resources to help young people develop.
So let’s remember that young people have loads of potential, they are both the church of tomorrow and the church of today. Disciples in training not waiting.
Well I’m not sure whats happening at the moment, but the blog seems to be having a mild case of fail at the moment.
I suppose we’re both being kind of busy, with job applications, life, web design courses, and gearing up for a terms worth of youth club. I’m sure you’ll probably hear more about that last one very soon.
The reason why I’m feeling a bit of minor #fail is simply because I’ve got ideas flying around… but… words… arn’t coming… out…
Sorry for the techie post, but I wondered if one or two people out there may find this useful.
If you’re looking for a nice easy way to push blog updates from WordPress to your Twitter account, I would suggest you give Twitterfeed.com a try. Its so simple, theres not much to write in a “how to”.
The only thing you need to watch out for, is that you need your blogs RSS feed. This can be found normally by clicking on the RSS link on your blog page, or try going to www.yourblogaddress.com/feed .
The downside is that your blog doesn’t update twitter automatically, but it can be set to check for fresh updates every 30 minutes.