My GRANDdaughter called on her way home from church yesterday while we were on our way to ours (3 time zones away). My 17 year old was so excited about the church she visited with her Mom and sister. “Papa, it was great. And there were nothing but “old“ people’ there”! -Meaning of course, folks over 30 or so.- “But they were so nice and friendly. One lady was 93 years old and she was so nice to me. She even wrote my name down and said she was going to be praying for me. She knows that high school is a hard time for young folks.”
Proves once again what the researchers have said. The friendliness of the congregation is far more important and impressive to the ‘seekers’ than doctrinal statement or denominational affiliation.
But here’s what rung a bell with me: “They sang old songs out of a book and not off a screen or wall. And I liked those songs.” She even proceeded to tell me the message in some of the old hymns of the faith she sang. “And everybody was singing!” She seemed surprised.
Then she made a profound observation: “And the preacher preached out of a REAL BIBLE and not an iPad!” She explained to me what he said about Hebrews 11 being a “hall of fame”. She said “he even gets excited and loud like you do sometimes, Papa!” This teenage GRANDdaughter even declared “they have a meeting on Wednesday night, too. And I’m going!”
The researchers say that one of the 10 top reasons young people give up on church attendance and quit when they leave home: they have never been to church in the first place! They have been raised on fun and games, cookies and kool-ade in “children’s church”. Then productions and presentations of the rock concert style when they became teens. They have never been grounded in a Bible teaching Sunday School.
When they graduate to “worship services” of the adults is a hi-tech production with a “worship team” performing for the rest of the crowd and a casual ‘speaker’. Dressed “casual” I suppose I’m not expected to take too seriously the spiritual pep talk this nice young man gives. He never even invites me to make a response except “in my own heart”. He certainly would never be so rude as to press me to make a decision, much less a declaration of my response.
I’ll take the liberty of quoting a favorite cousin’s Facebook post. This young wife and mother wrote on a Sunday after a morning in “church”: People/congregations are being led to believe that what they are doing is pleasing in the eyes of God. But where is the reverence? Young people have NO IDEA what that means. Praying God will impress upon our hearts what is “good” and what pleases him! Isn’t that the whole purpose of worship?
Amen, Lisa. Preach on! And you young hot-shot preachers, pay attention.