Young Preacher — Old ideas … or is it other way round?

THANK YOU, for sending us your resume applying for our ministry opening.  After prayerful consideration we are feeling led to go in a different direction.   We pray you will find the church who needs you and your talents for the kingdom!

Sadly, I have gotten emails like the one above quite often lately.  I know this may sound like whining or complaining — and it is a bit narcissistic to say I KNOW that I would have been a good choice for their work — but some very trusted advisors assure me that I am not wrong in applying for these positions and I do have the qualifications and knowledge for the work.

One problem is the our society’s worship of youth and the belief that to be effective it must be NEW.  I would refer you back to a previous post “Older, Wiser, and Out of Work“.    In that post I link to and refer to the thoughts of a friend who has a much broader kingdom perspective and his comments on this topic. Older_WiserWhat I am getting at is the problem I see so often in our fellowships.  When a church begins a search for a minister, pastor, spiritual leader — you choose the term — they want someone “young, fresh, and full of new ideas”.  Then within 18 months of the new man’s arrival there are special board meetings being called and criticism is flying because…… yeah — you guessed it — he wants to change things.  We haven’t done that before!  This cannot be valid — it is so different!

In my current ministry situation I have worked with several struggling congregations over the past 15 or so years.  All of them want growth.  All of them hate the fact that they are dying.  None of them are ready to embrace any kind of change.  They seem to feel that if they do the same things they always have, but somehow do them “better” they will grow.

Insanity — doing the same thing you always have but expecting different results.

And somehow they want to do this with a young man who is fresh, young, and full of great ideas.   Where is the disconnect?

The funny thing is — there are some of us older preachers who understand the need for change.  The advantage we have is the wisdom to work through the change with perhaps more care and understanding than a younger man.

I don’t know if there really is an answer.  I do know that church today has to be different than it was in the 1950’s and 1960’s when I grew up.

When my son and daughter are grandparents — church will look far different than it does for them now.

Jesus may be the same for all generations — but translating the Good News into the culture and current trends is an ever changing process.

Something to consider as you worship today.  What is being done to insure that your youth are having the message clearly translated into and understandable context?

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