Where Selfishness and Generosity Collide

Posted by jon on November 22, 2009 in but seriously... |

Are Christians in the church the most selfish generous people or are we the most generous selfish people? Why are we all so focused on having life our way? What we want, what we like. At this rate the songs of our faith will be “It’s All About Me”, “Lord I Lift My Name On High”, and “Have Mine Own My Lord”. When did Jesus ever teach us about getting our way? I remember Him specifically saying our ways are not God’s ways, I remember a lot denying ourselves, but I’m still trying to find the passage where God tells us that making sure things are “just the way we like it” is at the top of God’s to do list.

(Before I continue, let me make this disclaimer: The following comments are intended for the Church as a universal body and are not issues specific to any one body of believers. If anyone is offended by any of the comments below I am sorry you are, but they most likely apply, so if you are thin skinned stop reading now and let us avoid any unpleasantries that will likely end up back on this blog as a later entry.)

teen-bannerI’ve been in ministry for about 9 years now (pastorally speaking, that’s almost 10 years and that adds weight to what I’m about to say), and I am always astounded by the generosity and selfish that we, the church, display. I have been blessed by individuals and families that have selflessly given money to send a needing youth on a trip, or provided for a need without any fanfare, but then those same people will flat out refuse to consider changing anything about the way they do church to reach those same youth. A good while back I was told, in the same sentence (no punctuation, a comma at best), by a nice older lady that she hates that there aren’t as many youth in the worship service, but don’t go bringing that band in.

Basically we are upset that people who don’t like fish aren’t coming to an all-you-can-eat seafood spread, and the ones that are there aren’t getting much to eat. I know my opinion on this issue will be disregarded by some and it is true that as a youth pastor and modern worship leader I do have strong opinions; however, don’t hear this as a discussion about music. That would be missing the point. No, this is about reaching a generation.

I am scared to death that if we continue to call the youth in our Church the “church of tomorrow” that tomorrow may never come. With students leaving the church at the rate of nearly 80% after high school our tomorrow is looking thinner and thinner. Youth need to know about Jesus TODAY! Why are we not doing EVERYTHING in our power to reach youth and children? Some would say we are, but what message is it when the youth have “their time” in a separate youth area, and the kids have their own area, but the main worship and the heart of the church is not geared to reach these young people. They are ignored but expected to come and sit and listen to someone talk to their parents (and in some cases their grandparents) about things they can’t relate to. No wonder they are leaving the church.

girlI’ve never met a parent or grandparent that wouldn’t instantly trade their life for their young one. We will give money to send them on trips, we will get a youth pastor to teach them, but we won’t allow their music in our church. Isn’t it the responsibility of the mature to make allowances for the less mature? When Cee became a part of our family I had to change. For years I have always gotten up and turned on Sports Center (again, Tiff, the more mature one making allowances for the less mature one), but now Cee wants to see Mickey in the morning. What if I said I’ve watched Sports Center for years and that’s just how I wake up so Cee need to learn its value or I’ll put a TV in Cee’s room and she can watch Mickey in there while I watch mine? I would never do that (while Tiff was around…just kidding). Cee needs me more than I need Sports Center.

Church I’m not saying that we have to do thing any certain way because the truth is not in the music, or the décor. The truth is found when we are more interested in saving souls than the backdrop it happens on. Youth aren’t saved by cool leaders or the newest programs. They’re saved by the Gospel and by people who love them enough to tell them about it. A gospel built on music or appearance is not a saving gospel. Salvation is only in the Gospel of Christ and the last time I checked the His Gospel has never had a soundtrack (though if it did I’m sure Zondervan would have optioned it years ago). Until we are willing to give up EVERYTHING to save souls we will never be more than really generous selfish people. God is Everywhere.

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