You’re a Christian and you’re in your 20-30’s . Think 40 years ahead, think about where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing. Any luck? No? I find it hard to think 40 years ahead and I’m going to assume that it’s pretty darn normal. But there is one thing that you should be able to say you’ll be doing in 40 years with absolute conviction: Following Jesus.
Why do I care about the church in 40 years? Because the church we see in 40 years will be defined by the generation of young Christians that stand together today. It smacked me in the face recently that everything I say and do today is building the church of tomorrow. As part of the younger generation within the church, what I learn and how I teach will make an impact on what the church looks like in 40 years time.
If you look around the average church, there’s no denying the fact that the church is aging. Statistically, as a young bloke, I’m not surprised that I’m still single based on the number of young godly women I’ve met. Heck, as a young women, the odds of meeting a young godly man are worse! (If you’re churched and single, I’m sure you agree. We’ve all prayed for more of the opposite sex to come along at prayer meetings)
Those of us under 30 make up about 15% of the church body in Australia and those over the age of 60 make up 42% . Based on the current trends, in 40 years, over 70% of the church will be over 60. Now that scares me.
We often define “Church” as an organisation and each “Church” is independent of those around it. Following Jesus is about life and the church has turned it into a religion. The biblical definition of the church can be found in 1 Cor 12:12-31 and one verse that sums it up reads “We have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit”. The church isn’t bound by bricks and mortar, it’s bound by a spirit that breaks down walls and softens hardened hearts!
In Canberra, I attend a church full of young people and though the older generation isn’t really represented in the church, the individuals in the church still maintain a connection with the older generation. This is such an important part of church growth and it’s great to see how eldership hasn’t been limited into an organisational hierarchy. Rather, it spreads out into the true body of Christ.
I was talking to an older Christian bloke recently and he said, “There are people I know that will never approach me again, people that I have discouraged from exploring the bible by teaching what the church taught me.” What a powerful reminder that our words can cut like a razor and that what we teach about Jesus can be interpreted as precious or poisonous.
We have a generation of young people leaving the church not because they they’re rejecting Jesus but because they’re fed up with the hypocrisy of the church. The church is about Jesus and it’s about life. Look over the service you stand in this Sunday. Is your church alive or has it followed the path to lifeless Christianity? Now that’s an oxymoron!
I want to be part of a young generation that invests into the future of the body of Christ, that changes the perception of Jesus from religion to life and understands its role in building the church of tomorrow.
We are the young, we are the Church of tomorrow. If God is for us, who can ever be against us!
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12