In today’s world we often find ourselves disconnected from others, we are surrounded by people but we are so busy that we barely even stop long enough to get more than 2 and a half lines out. Yep 2 and a half lines, You know what I’m talking about, there is a ‘Gday, How are you going?’, a reply of ‘Good thanks’ then there is always an awkward moment you know you should put a question in but there is really no time to hear the answer and if there is time you will never understand it anyway as you keep walking in the opposite direction.
We sit in offices designed for productivity, they look like they would be really social places but in reality because they are so open, if one person is wanting to work then no communication can take place without disrupting them.
Our world is increasingly online, what we used to talk about face to face with people 10 years ago, or phone each other about 5 years ago is now sent by email and expected to be responded too within 2 hours maximum.
We have a lunchroom that is always populated with staff in their little groups but if your work is like mine there is always someone that needs to see you as soon as ‘free time’ begins and no real conversation transpires.
In fact Em and I struggle so much to get time to sit down together and talk about our lives that we have resorted to a joint calendar that we update so we know when the other person will be at home and we can see each other, we even have to schedule time off together so that neither of us fills it with stuff.
I think because of this, the church has found another level of relevancy that will become increasingly important in times to come. I would go so far as to say that the church is being called to fulfill a purpose that God knew would come along but we are drastically underprepared to deal with. Hence the requirement of Faith in community.
I hear stories of the church supporting its young people in the ‘olden days’, stories of youth groups flourishing, church being the centre of peoples lives, the central thought when planning a week ahead. I am really sad to conclude that as we have become increasingly independent of each other and less social, we have lost the ‘centrality’ of the church. Why go to church activities when its easier to sit on the couch and pretend to connect with others online where we are able to uphold a facade and not ever have to be ourselves in fear of rejection, undergo social pleasantries or answer hard questions like ‘How is you walk with Jesus?’.
Last night at our church we had a ‘combined service’, usually this just means that the old-er people from the two other congregations (who I might add have already had their service earlier in the day) come and turn our church service into their old school (and usually more boring) service. This just drives our young people not to come so there is no point in combining in the first place. Why would they come when ‘our worship’, ‘our messages’, ‘our people’ are set aside in favour of their ‘Traditional Good old time religion’ but last night was different. It was actually a ‘combined’ meeting, in fact I would even say that it was stacked in our favour, and do you know what happened, everyone sang, everyone listened, everyone walked away happy because this time we actually got to have something that we (as youth and in my case youngish adult) see as relevant to our lives and our connection with God rather than being caught up in ‘tradition’ we scarcely understand. We got something better for all, ‘Jesus and the Holy Spirit’.
My point is that our social community is dying. Our friends are online, our work is online, our organisation is on line, out world is online. Lets not let our Christian community die along with it. If we as a church refuse to accept that our ‘traditions’ may be getting in the way of others coming into community, if we refuse to keep up with the times then we are doomed to die out singing of a God that has long left our hearts without us noticing. I am not just blaming the older people here, as Youth and Young Adults we need to constantly change too, our worship is outdated as well, our style is done, it has all moved on, in 3 years we will see ‘Dubstep Worship’. (if you don’t know what that is then it just shows how fast the times are moving and we are all left behind)
It is no good to anyone for us to die with Jesus in our heart if that heart hasn’t been opened to let him out to bring others in.
Are we guilty of lifting a flag so high we can no longer see the words written on it down where we reside.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the army, its traditions, worship groups, songs and past mission styles, but I love Jesus more and want to see others know him better and if putting aside our preferences to bring others in community with Christ is the way to do it they what stops us. Do we value one higher than the other?
I don’t have the answer church relevancy, I pray that one day I will, but I know that unless we build up a faith community once again, we are doomed to be left holding the handbag while others go down and dance with the devil.
Whether you want it or not, the Church was created as God’s great community:
‘It is not good for man to be alone’ Genesis
‘Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.’ Romans
‘In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.’ Ephesians
If we don’t rebuild a community, Christ will left with no wife and I don’t want to be the one that has to tell him why.
Just a thought.