Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Church "Dropouts" Dialogue

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about a survey that talked about "church dropouts" (the phrase used by the surveyors). Below are some responses to that blog.

In between their responses I have some thoughts of my own.

(Julia writes)
"As far as I can try to answer:
-- I think that in the search for what is truly "real" and "genuine" and "fulfilling"... young people get distracted by what is observed on the surface at church, with Christians in general, or through heresay and assumption...it is easy to paint wide and call organized religion a waste of time. In my observation, when young people are left alone to teach themselves theology, to mature themselves in the faith... what else can they possibly see besides what those around them are like? I've seen more young adults fall away from the faith because of fellow Christians than any other reason."

-- "I would say that when I was challenged to look deeper and think critically, my faith abounded."

(My thoughts) Julia, I agree that just as it is unfair to "leave kids alone" on subjects such as driving or math, it is equally unwise to expect them to figure it all out on their own when it comes to sex, religion, or politics. While they have to decide on their own way eventually, I find that often my retreat from such issues with my own child is due to a lack of having anything of value to contribute. (If I don't know how to do Trigonometry, how can I help them?)

Maybe there is an onus on adults to seek out the answers on some of these issues, such as faith, and have a story or journey worth sharing with young people.


(Joshua writes)
I was raised in church my whole childhood. Ill have to agree with Manny. My experience with God has been more meaningful outside of church. in fact, it wasnt until i "dropped out" of church that I truly got to know God. I know it shouldnt be this way, but i have yet to attend a church that has had something more to offer than "moral support".

Show me a pastor who TRULY walks with God in a Christ-like sense and has the power that i see in the Bible and I will gladly attend his church. I want to grow as a person, not just be a church goer.

(My thoughts) Joshua, I had a very similar experience. I was so disillusioned over my "home church" and the minister there that I left organized religion and had essentially given up on that part of my spiritual life.

As you may have seen from my blog, I'm a "professional pastor" so something happened to change me, my life, and my mind. I'm determined to do my best to be the type of pastor, helping to create the type of church you would attend.

One question I HAD TO ASK MYSELF: Are you willing to be part of such a community of faith (you know, "be the change in the world you want to see") or are you simply going to spend your life as a nay-sayer?

In my continued quest, I have found that while no church/group of people are perfect, amazing things happen when I invest myself with people who also want to "grow as a person"; we work together to build homes w/ Habitat for Humanity, work through divorces, celebrate recovery from addictions, and seek God's power in our lives, as you mentioned. I think God honors such a commitment to community in His name.


(Another reader wrote) I'm looking for a church that doesn't damn homosexuals to hell... I feel like I'm writing an ad or something...

(My response) I wonder how many of us are:
1.) Able to state so succinctly what we're looking for in our church search.
2.) Really looking. I spent a lot of time in my life lamenting or complaining. I was talking about looking, but did little true looking during that time.

My prayer for you is that God will be with you on your journey, speaking to you along the way.


Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts.
Grace & peace.

No comments: