Yes, you read that right. As the old saying goes, you are one in a million.
But, there are about 7 million people on the face of the earth, so that means there are 7000 others just like you.
But that’s still awesome.
Let me encourage you more with that in a moment, because I think the whole “nameless faceless generation” thing is a bit overused in many charismatic circles. Most who teach that about Mosaics and Millennials are really just looking for an army of volunteers to serve out their own vision, without encouraging a whole generation to have their own.
Remember Joel prophesied that young men and young women would dream dreams and see visions?
That’s what I thought.
I just read a good article “Glory Plodding” by Kevin DeYoung over at Ligonier Ministries. I wanted to root for it, despite the few misgivings I have with the framework he begins with as to what “church” is and is supposed to be. If we were in agreement from that standpoint, then I’d cheer on his findings, that yes, many people in my generation are good at shouting from the rooftops about being a “revolutionary” but very few follow through or persevere in the long run.
I can vouch to that in my own context and background, where I’ve heard those types of words so much they’ve lost their meaning, and in the past I used to use the word “revolutionary” for my blog’s original title in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way.
But today I’m not writing about that or disparaging anybody not doing what I think they should be.
What we need are fewer revolutionaries and a few more plodding visionaries. That’s my dream for the church — a multitude of faithful, risk taking plodders. The best churches are full of gospel-saturated people holding tenaciously to a vision of godly obedience and God’s glory, and pursuing that godliness and glory with relentless, often unnoticed, plodding consistency.
AMEN! I agree; we need more faithful laborers for various things in the Great Commission.
We’ve been left hanging in thinking real full-time ministry is what those with a pulpit and platform do, when in reality those represent a small fraction of a fraction of the Body of Christ.
We’ve limited our thinking into believing church is only patterned a certain way, as I’m afraid the author also thinks, judging by a few statements with regard to being “church members” and “attending services”.
This is where I’d disagree.
You, saint, are the Church. I’m sure he’d probably agree with me if we nitpick that apart, so I’m not tearing into that. But I notice often times when I come across people on the internet or in various churches advocating for change in the church, they almost never advocate one key thing that needs changing — how we do church in the first place.
It’s not a building.
It’s not a service.
It’s the collection of the people.
And the location of where and the what of the service are subservient to this fact and not the other way around.
If we start with making disciples, ‘church’ will flow out of it.
If we start with “church” in the form of a building, then we wind up trying to find the people to fill the gaps needed to keep that machine going, and THIS is among the many reasons why Millennials have tuned out and left.
Every time some preacher or blogger brings another new or old idea through the pipeline about something that needs to change, I seldom here them tear up this false foundation;
Don’t give up on the church. The New Testament knows nothing of churchless Christianity. The invisible church is for invisible Christians. The visible church is for you and me. Put away the Che Guevara t-shirts, stop the revolution, and join the rest of the plodders. Fifty years from now you’ll be glad you did.
The problem with this statement he ends the article with is that most of us have not given up on the Church. In fact, that’s the point — we love the church so dearly we just won’t swallow the cyanide capsule which contains the idea that Christian feudalism is what Jesus originally intended — attending a meeting once a week, paying our Christian tax (the tithe) and then going on our merry way and serving no purpose other than keeping a pew warm and listening to an awesome worship band and great pastor with a gift for communication.
We’re not interested in merely being a part of a club.
We want to be and to do something significant.
While the author downplays the significance of that, I would disagree with him that it’s pie in the sky. You and I were born for something great, for a time such as the generation we’re a part of.
The spectator sport that is “church” for many of our generation is not found in the Bible and therefore by giving up on it, we’re not actually giving up on the church because it’s not what the New Testament saints envisioned.
Or participated in.
Leaving the system is not the act or rebellion or immaturity those in the system quite often insist that it is. But where I do agree with Young, we need more faithfulness. We need more long-term vision and planning.
But what for?
Real church is authentic community — which are other overused words I’ll need to qualify; relating one to another and building one another up. If people like Young were willing to look at it this way, the once-per-week service mentality is not really worth clinging to and young adults leaving this set-up are certainly not spiritually lost or immature for doing so.
Don’t just tell us we need to attend something or we’re immature if we don’t. Give us something to do to put feet to our faith. Becoming volunteers to serve one man or a leadership team’s vision is not how to do it.
Teach people how to pour themselves out into other people through their jobs, communities, meals together, and by spending time in their homes. I don’t remember all the good sermons I’ve heard over the years. But I do remember all the good Skype calls I’ve had with people like SJ Hill and times together with my pastor Stephen Best. I do remember the times we’ve done something together.
As good as some services are and have been, they’re not necessarily ‘church’. The individuals making up the cell are not just ‘ordinary.’ God has put something awesome and unique in each one of us.
That flame just needs a proper place to burn.
Can you imagine the revolution we’d see if everybody realized how awesome they are and that they play an important part in the grand scheme of God’s great commission?
[Tweet “Friends, stop telling people they’re nameless and faceless. We’re not. We’re Awesome!”]