What About Me?
Someone asked me a really great question the other day. They said, “Perry, whenever you cast vision you always speak specifically about the children and then teenagers; however, you don’t really say a lot regarding the adults, why is that?”
Here was my answer…I love adults, especially the senior citizens. One of the most fun trips I have ever taken was at my last church—the pastor asked me to take the senior adults to Myrtle Beach for a conference—and it was more wild than any youth trip I had ever been on! I actually had to tell them we were NOT going to Hooters!
The senior adults…and the not so senior adults…should not be ignored and/or neglected; however, I do not believe they need to be the focus of the church, which, unfortunately has happened in many churches in our country.
Come on now, don’t tell me it doesn’t happen. If the youth and children want to do something, go on a mission trip or summer camp then what does the church do? Stick them out in the sun and make them wash cars and sell doughnuts. BUT…in that same church…if the senior adults want to go pick apples then the church completely pays for the trip.
Maybe it’s just me…but I see something SERIOUS that is wrong with that.
I know, I know—I’ve heard it all before. “Perry, the adults give all the money!” So…because they give money the church should finance their recreational activities? My question is “WHY” do they give the money? Is it so the church can do what they want to be done…or because they love Jesus?
Adults in the church DO have rights…and it is NOT wrong for us to have personal preferences; however, I think a part of being a mature adult is getting past yourself enough to understand that everyone does not like things “my way,” and in order to really impact the next generation then I need to be willing to give up my desires.
For example…I am about to be a dad. What if I took this approach, “My child is going to have to adjust to ME when she gets here. I will not inconvenience myself in any way for her. If she pees herself and I don’t feel like changing her…she will just have to get over it. If we only have a certain amount of money and I have to decide whether or not to buy her some food or me a nice steak dinner…I guess she’ll know what its like to be hungry.”
If the above were how I operated as a parent then there is only one word to describe me—SORRY!
How is the above attitude different from most churches today? If we want to SERIOUSLY impact the world we live in—I believe it MUST be done through dynamic youth and children’s ministry…and in order to do that we MUST spend money on them…and if we are spending money of them then that means that some of the things we would love to see as adults in the church…well…we go without them! We inconvenience ourselves. We go without! All in an effort to reach a generation that needs Jesus more than any generation that has ever existed.
Why do I say that? Because church attendance among teenagers and twenty something’s is the lowest of any generation in existence. Statistics show that 1 out of 8 churched kids DROP OUT of church before the age of 25. The church needs to wake up and smell the flippin’ coffee!!!!
The ONLY way to seriously impact the world that teenagers and children live in is to spend money. Disney spends money! MTV spends money! The cartoon network spends money! The church has GOT to spend money.
As an adult I understand that there are times I must prove my maturity and give up any “rights” and “privileges” that I think are somehow owed to me (as if God owes us anything but hell) in order for the greater good.
At NewSpring we want to see people come to Christ! Young and old—BUT we also understand that 85% of the decisions that people make to follow Christ are done so before the age of 18.
If you are an adult in this church…OR a senior adult…let me be the first to say thank you for all that you do! The way you pray, serve and give mean so much to God’s kingdom. However, if we want to see this church last past our lifetime—we have GOT to invest heavily in the next generation. I believe one of the reasons so many kids have dropped out of church, or haven’t gone at all, is because the church has been giving them leftovers and telling them they ought to appreciate it…while the world has been spending BILLIONS of dollars telling them, “We’ll take you—come over here!”
So what about us adults? What are we willing to give up? (If you are a parent you should understand this!) Our activities? Our music style? (It amazes me the number of parents and grandparents that say they would give their own life to save their child or grandchild, yet that same parent or grandparent won’t give up their personal preference when it comes to music in church to reach that same child/grandchild!)
I believe in our children! I believe in our youth group! I believe in strong families! I want to see our community changed because moms and dads and kids are all falling in love with Jesus. AND adults—we can do this a lot easier than they can, at least we SHOULD be able to…that is why it is God’s call on our life to continue to do all we can to allow the generation after us stand on our shoulders!
I will be sharing more about the specifics of this vision in the days to come. Our youth and kids are going to be a MAJOR focus of our next campaign…as well as local and foreign missions AND starting new satellite campuses. I won’t say much more than that right now…but I do know this—God is REALLY stretching me right now…and great things are about to happen!