Ten years ago I remember being engaged in an almost continual dialogue with my then youthful youth minister about all matters Church of Christ. He basically refused to accept any orthodoxy from us and challenged a wide list of our traditional teachings. He left us and full-time ministry and ended up in another city worshipping with a very progressive congregation. In time this was not satisfactory. Eventually he settled in the Episcopal Church. It seems he represented a wave of the future.
Much more recently in a conversation with a college minister he shared with me that one young brother had “converted” to Catholicism. He further stated that another person about to move had already decided on the Episcopal Church after the move and that several others in his college group would not stay with the Church of Christ once on their own. Like the others, he felt, they would end up in one of the more ritual-oriented, ultra-orthodox churches.
This is more than just a local trend. Numerous college age and young professionals in search of stability in an unstable culture have turned not to a rocking, praise-oriented, bells-and-whistles style religion , but to the opposite of such. This migration has been noticed and documented by the church growth folks. It is not going away. According to these experts it is a reaction of the shake-up of values in a post-modern world. Seeking solid ground young people are turning to what they perceive as the “roots” of Christianity.
My question is where does that leave us? Many of us are still pushing worship teams and hand-clapping and praise songs as the way to connect to our youth. Apparently this is not happening- at least with some.
From my understanding of the reasons some are making this migration is that they are searching for something deeper and more defined and the rituals and slight mystery involved in some of these religious practices deliver it. It also possible that they could just be caught up the novelty of it all.
Again, where does that leave us? Obviously we will not turn to the practices of these churches. So, what shall we do? Anything?
I have some ideas and will share them in a later post. I would love to hear from you in the meantime.