I’ve watched the short video maybe 20 times. I’ll show it to our new church officers again this year. The speaker is Dr. Rodger Nishioka, one the top Presbyterian teachers in the country. Rodger is speaking about the “21st Century Reformation.” The theory is that every 500 years or so, God holds a “rummage sale,” throwing out things in the church that are outdated and making room for the new. He says a reformation is a terrifying thing to undergo, but in the end, the church emerges stronger and more faithful. Every time I watch I discover something challenging, new, or encouraging that I hadn’t noticed before.
Rodger points out that most young adults today who grew up in the church no longer attend.
He was speaking about Christian mission to a group of those young adults, and one of them challenged him. She said, “The problem with ‘you people’ (the church establishment) is that you seem to have no effect on the place in which God has planted you.”
For young adults, the impact of a church on its neighborhood is an assessment of its authenticity.
The young woman said she watched people come and go from the church across the street from her condo complex. If the church disappeared, the reaction would be, “Cool, more parking. Wouldn’t it be nice if they made a difference here?”
I don’t doubt that Jesus’ call to Christian mission is global. But the average age of our congregation is a generation older than our neighborhood. Are we making the impact here that we should? Do the unchurched (or formerly churched) young adults in our neighborhood assess us to be “authentic?”
What about the young adults who grew up here who no longer attend? Would they miss us if we disappeared?
You can watch “21st Century Reformation” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-mo4rtZdKk.