Church of Tomorrow.

Speaking on behalf of my generation, I'm going to be achingly honest: it troubles me when I hear people say we should "train" my generation up as the next generation of the church.  I think having a vision for the generation of today is a wonderful thing, but I've noticed a troubling trend about our churches when it comes to their idea of "training".

Now I haven't been all over the nation, but I've been to my share of churches.  In the ones that welcome the youth, I've witnessed a devastating process that isn't building the church of tomorrow, but is generating a faulty church instead.

The process usually begins with condemning, 'guilting', or scaring young people to come to the altar.  Instead of using prayer and waiting for God's genuine conviction to pursue them, churches try to pull young people to Christ.  We say things like, "You never know when you'll die.  It could be tonight!" or "God sees all of the bad things you've done.  You're horrible!  But God can get rid of all those bad things right now as long as you come to the altar."  Which is all true, but it's not the healthiest mindset to attempt to build a lasting, productive relationship with Christ on.  Because it leads to the second step of the process.

The second step of the process is when a young person actually makes the decision to come to the altar, and it's just as dangerous as the first step.  At this point, churches usually load these young people with rules and regulations.  Before they can even bask in the joy of being forgiven and redeemed, we weigh them down with spiritual guidelines that they don't comprehend.  These are individuals who, on a daily basis, are just trying to get the whole 'honor thy mother and father' thing down and we're destroying them with expectations that we haven't equipped them to meet.

The whole process has been leading to the third step, which can result in one of two situations. 

In one scenario, the young person often crumbles under the weight of rules and regulations.  They're crushed by expectations and push away from Christianity with the mindset that they've been there, done that, it didn't work for them, and they have plenty of time to come back to it later.  They go out and try to find their own answers to life elsewhere. 

In another scenario, one that is just as heartbreaking as the first, the young person falters under the weight of rules and regulations, but decides to stay in church.  However, their mindset is often to pretend to have it all together so they'll be accepted in their church family while they slowly fall apart on the inside.  They push the hurt further and further down and tell no one, not even God, of their struggles.

It's a damaging process that I've seen far too many times.  And it is all because one vitally important truth was left out of the equation: no one told these young people or showed these young people the love of Christ.  The radical love of a Savior that accepts them as they are, but loves them too much to allow them to stay as damaged and broken as they've been.  Without encouraging the love of Christ as a foundation to build on, we are not building up the generation of tomorrow's church.  Instead, we are setting it up to fail. 

Let God be God.  Present Him in the love that He's given and allow Him to do what He does best: take something devastated and damaged and make it new again.  Don't rob God of His glory.  Illuminate His love.  And the church of tomorrow will rise as a godly generation right before your eyes.


  1. I totally agree. It seems like people are more concerned about the quantity of people they witness to than the quality of the relationship the one person can gain with Jesus Christ. And I TOTALLY agree with your final paragraph.

  2. I too agree. We get caught up in regulations, and living our relationship with God out in the "right way" which translates to the "church's way." How can we decide what God wants for another person? We are all called to different parts of the church, and have different gifts, and sometimes churches push us all to be the same kind of person when we need to be who God wants us to be. Thanks for addressing this!