What are the odds that two bikers traveling east on a bike path will pass two bikers heading west at the exact moment that they both intersect with two walkers?
Because I can find a spiritual application in just about anything, that and several similar scenarios during a Sunday afternoon bike ride got me thinking about a convergence of ideas that God brought to my mental pathway last week.
The common thread was generational representation, or lack thereof, in the church.
My friend Carol linked to an article entitled The Invisible Generation: Youth-focused Christianity may be sidelining the gifts of older women by Sarah Bessey.
Then I noticed that fellow blogger Michelle was being interviewed about her recent survey and analysis of why Christians over 40 are disengaging from the church.
Next, I read a blog post by John W. Hawthorne responding to a CNN Belief blog article about Why Millennials are leaving the church. Hawthorne thinks these Millennial Canaries are communicating something important.
Meanwhile, my husband was following his own trail of links and leads from The New Protestant Reformation, an e-book by Steve Hewitt that describes the traditional church in decline. One red flag is the exodus of young people.
This all coincided with my own post wondering how churches led like battleships (by the 40+ establishment) will fare in a society operating more like socially networked schools of fish (the Millennials.) A wise comment from fellow blogger Larry provided some helpful perspective. (Thanks Larry.)
And that was just Wednesday.
Of course, there are countless other viewpoints to be considered. I’ve located and read a few since then. It’s easy to forecast the demise of the church as we know it, but God’s Church is still the powerful vehicle through which He works in this world. It has always been flawed, and it’s not going anywhere.
Statistical and generational trends are useful indicators that cause us to consider how we might better love and value one another in our Christian communities. Fine. Was that the message I was given? It seemed that there was more.
One final idea from our son completed the picture.
I asked him, a member of the disappearing millennial generation, why he is attracted to the church that he attends. He said that he immediately felt welcomed, valued and accepted by everyone there. He says they all passionately follow and serve Jesus in genuine community.
In other words, in that church he experiences Jesus.
Jesus loves and welcomes everyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, intelligence or socio-economic status. Jesus has a job for everyone and has perfectly equipped each of us to accomplish it.
So, in addition to evaluating how various demographics are represented in our churches, perhaps we should make sure that Jesus is well represented in every community of believers. If he is, the rest will take care of itself.
“…God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27