During the holiday season, we were blessed to attend our church youth’s kickoff for its Global Force Ministry. Israel Houghton ministered mightily as a guest performer, and Bishop Tudor Bismarck brought a most timely word from the Lord. The energy was high, and you could almost touch the excitement, it was so thick in the air. I left feeling privileged to be in the presence of such anointed ministries.
As good as I felt leaving, I also left a bit disturbed. Our new youth minister emphasized repeatedly that this new ministry ‘is not church’, which I concluded was a conscious effort to distinguish the focus of the ministry from the staid, conservative and sometimes judgmental spirit that pervades too many churches. I can appreciate, from that perspective, what he was saying; he even had a couple of the kids present themselves with blue and orange dye in their hair in the effort to point out that it’s not about the outside appearance. I’ve read a couple of articles recently about the “Krunk for Christ” movement (did I spell ‘krunk’ right?), as the kids call it, in which the music is more secular with Christian lyrics, the kids come as they are, and there is a freer flow to the atmosphere than is present in traditional church.
The Bible says that when one is saved, the angels in heaven rejoice, and there is no qualifier about the type of environment one is saved in. Also, as a parent of a preteen, I am of the “whatever it takes to keep them close to the Lord” philosophy. Yet I find myself struggling with this form of worship, and I definitely need prayer because I don’t want to get in God’s way if this is indeed His new thing. One of the ideas that the Lord has quickened in my spirit is the idea of not making flesh decisions, but instead submitting everything to Him in prayer. So, all the way back to this new style “non-church” church, I have to ask myself, are the kids excited about Christ, or they simply pumped about the beat? What happens when the music stops? Somewhere in the hyped-up service are they developing a faith that sticks?
There are fundamental truths upon which the church stands (‘upon this rock I build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it’), and our failure to teach these truths to the next generation is one of the reasons why our kids are leaving church. Too many people, young and old, who would consider themselves Christians have never read the Bible, even once. We call ourselves believers, but we don’t know what we believe. More than that, we will never beat the world at what the world does—satisfy the flesh. The Christian experience is in large part about denying the flesh—this is one of those fundamental truths. And my conversation with my daughter when I asked her what she thought of the service–and I listened intently to her opinion– was that I don’t care if she never shakes her bottom in church for the Lord (did I mention the amount of dancing that accompanies this service?). What matters to me most is that something deposited deep within her that leads her to the Lord in good times and in bad. I will continue to pray about not being captive of a legalistic spirit, but also to be led by the Lord such that if I’m right in what I feel, I can stand in boldness, no matter what. Join me in prayer, won’t you? God bless.