A Lutheran Says What?

Sermons and random thoughts on God, the world and the intersection of the two

The present of the Church November 7, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — bweier001 @ 5:11 am
Tags: , ,

I love my Wednesdays-seriously. Twice a month I meet some of the senior high youth from the church at a local Starbucks and every Wednesday I teach confirmation. Yes, I love confirmation. LOVE IT! Wednesday is my day when I am privileged to spend a couple of hours with amazingly gifted and insightful teenagers. I am continuously blown away by this generation’s ability to make connections in abstract ways and to not be burdened by arbitrary boundaries. In other words, my generation talks about “thinking outside the box” and millennials don’t even know that a box exists.
I have been encouraging our youth at church to voice their opinions on everything from service experiences to worship to Sunday school. And a couple of them are actually taking me up on it! One young man talked excitedly to me today about how we could maybe create a park for kids to come and play or build a gym for people to come and play basketball or other sports. One young woman on Sunday mentioned how it would be cool if we could do worship besides Sunday morning. Another young woman wondered why we have to be at church on Sunday. Can’t we be in the community doing something on Sundays?
Are all of these ideas viable? Maybe, maybe not-but what is captivating to me is their imagination around who and what the Church can be in the world. They don’t believe that there is a limit or a certain way church or God’s people have to be. They are unbound and unencumbered by ideas like “the way it’s always been” or by little details such as budgets, constitutions or institutional norms.
They push me and free me to truly wonder where is God moving in our community and to not let myself get stuck in my adult and “tried and true” way of thinking. I often think of how the youth in our congregation embody and reveal the movement of the Holy Spirit in our midst and how adults often try and rationalize, control and even ignore the unsettling presence of God in our lives.
In confirmation tonight we talked about David and how God often uses the least of these to do great things in the kingdom of God. The youth admitted that often they feel inadequate and that they don’t think they don’t have much to offer the world. What if we truly welcomed our youth as ministry partners in every aspect of the church? Do youth need some mentoring, a little life experience and maybe a little more information? Sure, but don’t we all? But shouldn’t we empower our youth with the same vigor that we do adults in our ministries? What if we quit referring to youth as the future of the Church and started admitting that they are the present of the Church? What amazing things could God be doing through our young people?

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