Today in my own life I will be packing to move tomorrow. Seems good to end the nightmare on Halloween!
Lately I find myself telling others how amazing grace is not just because I believe it but because I have seen it. In the last few years I have seen more marriages healed, children restored (Even kidnapped ones!) and restoration come to family units than the first 20 years of my Christianity. I am not ready to say I have seen more miracles and healing yet in the last two years, but it is clear we are heading in that direction.These thoughts are important to the next few minutes. Why? Because I believe there is a strategy of God, a blueprint of heaven predicated on the love of the Father. That none might perish. With that in mind I read with great interest the following research. Research that speaks of the young people. I am interested. Why? Because I have children and grandchildren! I want them to see the same blessings I do.
If your church does not have generations, be real enough to ask why! On a personal level our biggest issue in our fellowship is what to do with ALL the children!
This research is based on findings of Focus On The Family (FOTF) a ministry many are familiar with and the Barna Group, a firm that seeks out trends.
- Many of this young group find church to be “hypocritical, judgmental or insincere.” I agree that much of the church is or has been. (Just read your Facebook newsfeed!) There is a book you may want to read, even group study it. Considering interviews and research conducted by Thom and Joani Schultz in their new book, “Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore,” these possible elements have been frequently cited.
- Politics at the pulpit-yep! FOTF said“Millennials are increasingly disassociating with churches and individuals who practice what they see as strident conservative political rhetoric.”
- Isolationism is another issue that is sometimes credited for leading young people away from the church. David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, claims that one-fourth of 18 to 29-year-olds believe that churches demonize everything that resides outside of Christian culture.
- Sex-A list compiled by Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal notes that sex is also an issue that might turn young people away from the church.
- Openness –too many feel closed off from friends and have to make a choice.
I look at this and I have to say I am thankful that our personal fellowship is reaching the group some like Pew Research have entitled “nones.”
I mentioned grace at the beginning of this because I have learned keeping the law and appointing rules does not free people, but the scripture tells us that “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law [I Cor. 15:56].” Setting more rules does not cause relationship but causes remoteness and rule carrying.
I am thankful for the power of grace in my life. Grace is man and His name is Jesus. He is not a covering of my sin, but eradicated my sin. I often describe grace as this. Imagine you are driving down a road. Grace(Jesus) is the power to keep the car in the road. The guardrails represent His mercy. You can use the guardrails and still get “there” but life is smoother and less destructive when we rely on Him and His benevolent power towards us.
I have made lots of mistakes in my walk as a Christian. Preached lots of messages I regret. I recently have been meditating on Titus 1:11-16. What are their works that are shameful? What truth are they not facing? Perhaps it is avoiding the truth for “grace and truth are found in the person of Jesus Christ.” John 1:16-18 Perhaps it the work of not relying on Him.
As a parent and a grandparent, I am introducing my family to Him and to His care. Not His rules, but His care and His relationship.
Stop with the rules! Preach grace! Walk with Grace!
There is a new statistic coming from Barna. It will soon say “WOW! We can not believe it. God is good and sweeping the nations!”