This past week I had the opportunity to talk to a young man who shared with me his “faith experience.” He was raised going to worship services every Sunday morning. Eventually, him parents told him it was up to him to get himself up Sunday mornings. The decision to be a faithful church going person was no his. The responsibility to carry the flag of his faith was no his. He chose not to go. He decided that it wasn’t worth the effort. Sadly, this is not all that uncommon. As I look back upon those that I grew up with going to bible classes with only a handful of them are still faithful today. There was about 24 of us kids that ranged from 10 years younger than me to 10 years older than me. 10 of us still faithfully attend. Not a single family failed to be impacted by a child that chose not to return to the Lord’s church and some of the families watched all of their children turn their backs upon God. As I look upon on congregation it makes me terribly nervous. We have had 12 children in this congregation who have spent much of their youth attending services. If my childhood is any indication of the future of this congregation, perhaps 6 would remain faithful all of their lives. It bothers me to think that I could lose one (or more) of my children to the world.
While I was in Madrid, I spent a great deal of time talking with the elders and discussing the different things that they were doing in hopes of changing this discouraging culture. (In fact, this subject dominated our conversations all week). We talked about having different types of classes for their youth. The young men go through leadership training classes where they learn how to serve the church during the worship hour. They then are encouraged to put these lessons to work. (One of our song leaders during the week was a young man going through these training classes). The young ladies have similar classes were they learn different ways to serve the congregation. It was pointed out to me that one of the things the young ladies did this past quarter was take meals to the sick and shut-ins. We also discussed the need to instill faith in action in these young people. They needed to know how to be a Christian at school, work, when they go off to college and are no longer under the watchful eye of mom and dad.
This naturally led to our upcoming Gospel Meeting. Of course, rather than advertise it as a gospel meeting, we are advertising it as a youth seminar. While the subjects are certainly beneficial to all, Frederic Gray has done a great deal of wonderful work among the young people in Tampa. This is why we have asked him to deliver a series of lessons really aimed at the young people. These lessons are meant to break the pattern that is devastating the church all across this country. I strongly advise you to clear your schedules now. If you have children that attend services here make certain that they are here each night. I know that can be a difficult commitment
(I have four kids and know all to well how hard Gospel Meetings can be on children). But, if you hope to see your children remain faithful unto the Lord, they need plenty of spiritual nutrition and these lessons are going to presented in such a way to keep them interested, intrigued and learning. The subject matter is about things they care about. If you have grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc that don’t’ attend here, invite them. Encourage them to come and hear these sermons. And little ones that actually read this bulletin, invite your friends. You are no the only ones that can benefit from this seminar. Anyone your age is going to benefit from these lessons, so invite your friends, your cousins, your classmates. Encourage them to come at least one night of the week.
My friends loosing a generation is nothing new. It has been happening for a long time. Cain lived wickedly and slew his brother. He was the1st generation of people to grow up not knowing the sound of God walking in the garden. The book of Judges tells us why this happens. “And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel (Judges 2:10).” Someone during the raising of this generation the parents failed to teach their children to really know God. To get to know him intimately. Let us break the pattern by making the most of our upcoming meeting.
Grinnell church of Christ
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The Disappearing Generation
Volume 7 Issue 13