Demonstrating God’s Love For Others Is God’s Timeless Plan for His Church
2 Corinthians 10:32-33 “Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”
Do you remember when everything, but the church, was closed on Sundays and schools never scheduled anything on Wednesday nights because that was choir practice night? If so, you know how much has changed in your lifetime. You did just about everything differently only decades ago.
I grew up with a tv, microwave, VHS then DVDs, and boomboxes. When I was a kid the open 24/7 stores started popping up and then more and more businesses were open Sundays. I don’t know a time prior to 1968 and have no memory of experience of daily life prior to the early 70’s. My experience from childhood to present is different from my parents’ because the times were different, but our spiritual needs never change.
The 20- somethings who are starting and raising families right now have no concept of a world without personal computers, smart phones, internet and Wi-Fi, and video as a key component to processing information. They have never known a time without numerous choices of what to do on a Sunday morning, some required for school or sports and are not optional. Fundraisers or events their families are involved with are often scheduled over Sunday mornings and early afternoon. Their routine is not consistent and requires on-the-fly prioritization.
The newest generations are virtually connected to each other 24/7. It’s all they know. They long to connect and learn and take in information and do something with it. It’s not enough to know, they want to do. They see what’s happening in real time and want to make a difference in the world. And, they need to know Jesus.
The places where younger generations are “plugging into” offer an atmosphere and experience that is comfortable, familiar and welcoming which makes biblical sense. Jesus talked about hospitality as necessary for “making disciples”. We must meet new people where they are and engage in ways that make sense to them.
I’m quite comfortable in a church setting because I’m used to it…now. I wasn’t always used to it. When I started attending church regularly for the first time in my 20’s, I remember feeling uncomfortable because it truly felt like stepping back in time, to a time I never experienced before.
How do we provide worship and outreach to the newest generations who are not plugged into a church in ways that are familiar and meaningful for them?
God blesses Spirit led efforts to reach his people and I believe that the Holy Spirit is moving in Penns Valley with a heart to reach generations who connect in ways that require us to consider new ways. This was the driving force behind offering the Deep Blue Connects resources for the children Sunday mornings and the free app that goes with it. The app offers a video, a game, and more that engage children in a familiar way. The recent confirmation class and youth studies curriculum are also updated methods of learning that incorporate video and interaction. The truth is, the same kind of enhanced connection is needed for all ages in order to grow the family of God in 2019.
We need to find ways to serve new people where they are (in ways they are used to) so they can meet Jesus and get to know him. We may be tempted to view change or progress as a negative thing. Yet progress makes it possible for the Word of God to be read for free by anyone with a device and internet! (YouVersion.com) I believe that our mission is to connect those with the devices to the family of Christ on a path of discipleship. We are blessed by and challenged with this responsibility by being those “who are here for a time such as this”.
How is God leading us to further “plug in” so that more in our community can effectively get to know Jesus?
Join me in praying for Spirit leading to discern how we grow the family of Christ with hearts that are “seeking not our own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved”.
With hands to the plow,
To learn more about the Deep Blue Adventures app, click here!
[This Pastor’s eNote is an “overtime” version of the St. James/Trinity newsletter article from June/July 2019.]