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The new divide

June 9, 2007

I’m sitting in LAX catching up on some feeds and I came across a great article from the Seattle PI dealing with the state of Christendom in today’s “post-modern” society.

In some ways, the emergent-church phenomenon is a judgment on established churches. By their very existence, emergent churches say that younger generations haven’t found room or voice in existing churches.

While there may be plenty of open seats in established churches, there haven’t been open seats in the places where decisions were made.

But creating churches for one generation runs the risk of reproducing the problem such churches are meant to cure. What’s new becomes old, what’s edgy becomes mainstream, what’s hip becomes dated. What then?

The author briefly touches on the “why”, and the brief explanation given I don’t feel is deep enough.  However, this would be a great conversation starter.  I know our church is facing these issues as well.  Even though we’re growing, it’s increasingly difficult to get younger folks (20s and 30s, singles and new families) to engage in the “life of the church” beyond attending Sunday services.

How do we fix this?  How do we integrate the post-modern churches and the “classic” churches so our community doesn’t fracture beyond at the crazy denominations we already have? 

Every new non-denom church is really a new denomination.  Is that good?  Am I wrong – should we split up?

In the immortal words of Tom Cruise from Top Gun, “Talk to me Goose!”

  1. June 10, 2007 at 4:49 pm

    Two issues come to mind: trust and apathy. I think that often the more “seasoned” church goers don’t necessarily trust that younger generations (those in their 20s and younger) can get the job done. Are they really seasoned enough to be trusted with leadership positions? In my opinion, yes, they are. However, I’m also in that younger church-going generation.

    Apathy. I think that those of us in younger generations have a big apathy epidemic on our hands. If it’s not about the “here and now,” and instant gratification, many could care less. And all of this apathy can feed back in to the aforementioned trust issue. Ugh. It’s a tough issue, but we’re going to have to face it.

    Perhaps we can all meet in the middle instead of starting over again… we don’t need to start new churches and denominations to solve the problem. After all, then we don’t have the benefit of the history that “seasoned” churchgoers bring to the table (through leadership and otherwise). On the other hand, we all need to trust that we are owning up to our stake in the health and wellbeing of the church. In other words, we need to step up and carry some of the leadership burden and prove ourselves.

    I don’t have the right answers (wouldn’t it be easier if we did?). Rather, I’m willing to hear more about it and step up to be a part of the solution. Thanks for the thought provoking post!

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