Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Forever Young

I'm 45 years old... I actually know that "Forever Young" is more than just a Rod Stewart ballad - there's a song by Alphaville by that title, as well as a classic Bob Dylan tune with that name. (And by knowing all that stuff, I've proven once again that my twenties are definitely in the rearview mirror.)

So, when James Emery White wrote a blog post at his website, Serious Times, about the aging of the church, it resonated with me like a clanging bell... or the reaction I have every time I hear the opening notes of U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name." (Which, btw, is a 22 year old song now.)
The natural flow of the church is to skew old. Left to itself, that is what it will do. It will age. You take your hand off of that wheel, and that is what will happen. This is not the only natural flow of the church. Left to itself, the church will also turn inward and become outdated.
And he's right - as anyone in church life can tell you.

Thankfully, he does more than just point out the problem:

So what did we do? There are three headlines that are disarmingly simple in maintaining influence and impact with the next generation:

  1. To attract young adults, you have to hire young adults.
  2. To attract young adults, you have to platform young adults.
  3. To attract young adults, you have to acknowledge young adults.

There's a lot more detail than this in the post... it's well worth your time to read it!

Bottom line? Sometimes bridging a cultural divide is as simple as who you hire, who you platform, and who you acknowledge.

Yes, a person who is fifty should come and find points of connection and community at your church.

But that’s not the problem. We’re reaching the fifty-somethings. It’s the twenty-somethings that we’re missing.
In case you missed it at the top of my post, here's the link: "Forever Young."

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