"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ministries for the Young Aren't Necessarily the Best

Trends in churches sometime bother me. As a traditional musician, I was dragged kicking and screaming into the Christian contemporary music era over a decade ago. We should only sing hymns, prayer responses and only use piano and organ in our services…just like Peter and John did in the first century. If the King James Version was good enough for Paul, it should be good enough for us all….especially the Scofield Reference KJV Bible. However, now that I am firmly ensconced into the modern day, I am moved by many of the contemporary songs of praise and worship just as I am by the great hymns of faith. Keyboards, guitars, drums, saxophones, and more can lend a worshipful atmosphere to a song like no other instruments (if used with sensitivity and a worship style). Personally, I may still prefer the more ‘high church liturgical style,’ but can worship God in any style in which I find myself. Seriously.

I recently read a book entitled, “Who Stole My Church” that pointed out the problem with the current trends toward children and student ministries in worship and in general ministry, that the older generations were feeling left out, without purpose and wondering who stole their church. The church that had grown up with and supported all their lives was now changed to something they no longer recognized, all without their knowledge or input. Great book which emphasizes the value of communication, prayer and degrees of Christian compromise.

Statistics are often quoted that if you have not accepted Christ by the time you are, say 18 years old, then the likelihood is unlikely you ever will. So, we work harder to reach the younger groups. But, what about the older ones? Many churches put so much emphasis on reaching the young ages that reaching the older people falls by the wayside. The error of this thought became very clear to me this past Sunday.
My mom’s church is quite small and the majority of members are senior adults. This is somewhat prohibitive to a lot of physical outreach ministry, but they set a remarkable standard for their community Vacation Bible School and their support for local and foreign mission efforts. The fellowship is warm and welcoming to guests; loving and caring to their own people. In my opinion, this is a true church….unlike any I know of. A friend of the Pastor was living in the Atlanta area for a period of time, visited the church and was immediately drawn into the fellowship with no drama or pressure to “become a member.” He was fairly open that his background in churches and religion was not pleasant, but it did not prohibit him from taking part and helping anywhere and everywhere he was needed. And the church just loved on him.

As time came, he returned to his home in Canada to the sadness of the church, but they have kept in touch with him and have now welcomed his daughter as a member. The marvelous thing is that he came back this past weekend to pack up furniture to take back to Canada and scheduled his trip just so he could attend church. Why? Because he had given his heart to Jesus and wanted to be baptized in this church that had loved him, loved his family and shown him through word and actions that religion is not a scary thing, but something good. True. Kind. Loving. Warm. So, at the end of the morning worship, Pastor Elmer Goble baptized his friend, Pete Desrochers, into the fellowship of believers known as Bouldercrest Baptist Church. A church of older folks, reaching out to older folks, loving older folks, baptizing older folks and living out the Great Commission every day. Even though Pete lives thousands of miles away from his church, he leaves to drive home with Christ in his heart and a small church here in Georgia praying him on his way.

I ask all of you to pray that Pete can find a fellowship of believers near him in Canada to nurture and disciple him. In love. God’s love.

So, church, don’t make it all about the young people. There are many more Petes out there in our communities who need to know the Lord and experience the fellowship of His people.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy


At 10:53 AM, Blogger Wiley_Coyote said...

I think you'll find that both Peter and John were at least 1600 years too early for the Piano, and 1300 years from the organ.
Is it possible that converting older people is harder because they are using something called "Thought" that isn't available to the young and impressionable?

At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Arie Uittenbogaard said...

Perhaps it's unlikely for someone over 18 to convert because all the ministries are aimed at converting children. And it's probably easier to organize a Christian rave party than an indepth study of Scriptures or someone's life. Sad though. I think children could beneft greatly from growing up in a world where their elders are ministered to.
I live in Serbia, where most people are orthodox. Here priests are still regarded as the governers of society. Back in the west I often felt like everybody there was an orphan.


Post a Comment

<< Home