A couple of weeks ago, we were chatting about the upcoming restructuring in our church and where each of us were at with it. It was probably one of the toughest nights with our smallgroup that I can remember.
The purpose is to get us to be more focused on being missional.
I have my concerns and my worries, but you know…I’m not in leadership at our church, God’s placed our leaders, to be well, uh, leaders. And I guess you know, you’ve got to go with the flow, get stuck in unless God tells you otherwise.
But I had a very interesting conversation afterwards driving a couple of folks back home.
You see this summer, I heard a lot of teaching and took part in some discussion about how the church has started haemorrhaging people in their 20s and 30s. A while ago we realised we were losing teenagers, so we got our act together and put lots of resources and training into youth ministry. Well, now I’m a minority in ‘the church’.
People in our age group are getting married older, having children later, are more transient in terms of moving around, and a lot of church ‘ministries’ are based on vulnerable groups, children, youth, university students, parents, married couples…
And over the recent months I’ve discovered many of my friends in my age group gradually go to church less and less after graduating because the majority of the ‘inward’ ministry is completely irrelevant to them. And a number of them have done so because they felt that the church only wanted them so they could ‘use them’. They’re young, they’re single…so they have time to do all these various things that need doing.
And it’s not that they don’t want to serve. It’s that all that they do is serve, and they end up wondering…if I wasn’t someone who was doing all this stuff, would anyone care if I was here?
I’ll fully admit that I, myself, have pondered that a time or two.
You might say we’ve all got to stop whining and just get on with it. That’s life.
And then someone said this (actually a few people have said this in different ways recently).
“Being single in church is lonely. When something big is happening in church which means you lose the community you’ve built up, if you’re married you naturally have someone to face it with together. But you don’t necessarily have that if you’re single.”
I’m not married, but I know that marriage is NOT easy. No rose tinted glasses for me.
I do think there is some truth in that statement.
I don’t write this to be like ‘pity us’ or anything.
But I do think this is something that we…the church…need to address.
I just wonder how we can fix that. How can we truly be community when we’re all so different? And how do we be more inclusive?
And what happens if we become so focused on being missional that we forget the importance of being pastoral?
How do we find the balance?