Monday, October 19, 2009

Sincerity matters more than style

I have no recent experience with youth ministry, but as someone who taught adolescents in public school for a very long time what Kevin DeYoung writes about reaching young people rings true:
.... Reaching the next generation—whether they are outside the church or sitting there bored in your church—is easier and harder than you think. It’s easier because you don’t have to get a degree in postmodern literary theory or go to a bunch of stupid movies. You don’t have to say “sweet” or “bling” or know what LOL or IMHO means. You don’t have to listen to…well, whatever people listen to these days. You don’t have to be on twitter, watch The Office, or imbibe fancy coffees. You just have to be like Jesus. That’s it. So the easy part is you don’t have to be with it. The hard part is you have to be with Him. If you walk with God and walk with people, you’ll reach the next generation.

Let me unpack that a bit. After thinking through the question for over a year, I’ve come up five suggestions for pastors, youth workers, campus staff, and for anyone else who wants to pass the faith on to the next generation: Grab them with passion. Win them with love. Hold them with holiness. Challenge them with truth. Amaze them with God. ....

.... You can have formal services, so long as you do not have formalism. You can have casual services, so long as you do not approach your faith casually. Your services can have a lot of different looks, but young people want to see passion. They want to see us do church and follow Christ like we mean it.

We would do well to pay attention to Romans 12. “Let love by genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord” (Romans 12:9-11). We would be far less likely to lose our young people and far more likely to win some others, if the spiritual temperature of our churches was something other than lukewarm. People need to see that God is the all-consuming reality in our lives. Our sincerity and earnestness in worship matter ten times more than the style we use to display our sincerity and earnestness. .... [more]
Reaching the Next Generation is Harder and Easier Than You Think: Grab Them With Passion – Kevin DeYoung

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