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The Generation Gap
« on: Sun Sep 08, 2002 - 04:51:19 »
I think your problem chilidip is that people are much more cynical than they used to be.  The younger people are quicker to catch on to hypocracy and selfishness displayed by their elders and less likely to turn a blind eye to it.  That really is what is costing you your children.

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« on: Sun Sep 08, 2002 - 04:51:19 »

Offline david johnson

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« Reply #1 on: Sun Sep 08, 2002 - 11:53:59 »
[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote (chilidip @ Sep. 07 2002,9:47)[/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]It seems to me one of the most difficult situations in a lot of churchs (pick your flavor) is being able to grow mature sheep in today's world.  How can we get leaders who may be 65-70 or older to first understand the younger generations world, then make Christlike decisions which will positively affect their eternal destiny?  It seems this generation gap is costing us our children's salvation.  They are leaving by the droves because "church" is irrevelant, un-enlightening, and basically boring.  Any comments?[/quote]
chilidip:

i wonder if the 'oldsters' leave in droves and the youthful remain when elders not of the age you mention take over?
i've never thought to notice.

dj

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« Reply #1 on: Sun Sep 08, 2002 - 11:53:59 »

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« Reply #2 on: Sun Sep 08, 2002 - 17:34:38 »
[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote (spurly @ Sep. 08 2002,07:19)[/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]I don't know the answer to your question, other than encouraging them to be real and to pass on the faith.  One elder once told me a very sad thing.  He said that my job as a youth minister was to train the students to be like the older adults in the congregation (specifically he meant that they are to like the same type of music, church services, bible school format, etc. that the older people like, just because the older people like it).

I thought this was extremely telling of where a lot of people are.  THey find themselves losing control in many areas of their life and they don't want to lose control in the church too.  They want that to be the same that it has always been - just because it has always been that way.

Just my thoughts.

Spurly[/quote]
I think a positive way to attract young people to a life with Christ is to show them how it can be of benefit to them.  As one poster said, modern day people are skeptical or cynical of something that is being shoved down their throats.
If you can show someone how he or she might benefit from living a Christian life then that person has a positive basis to make the decision whether to do it or not.  Otherwise there's a good chance the offer will be rejected.

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« Reply #2 on: Sun Sep 08, 2002 - 17:34:38 »

Offline OldDad

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« Reply #3 on: Sun Sep 08, 2002 - 21:34:14 »
Recently, I taught a multi-week study on the Exchanged Life.  Our youth pastor's wife had been sharing her notes with him, and he asked if I would teach it to the jr/sr highs.  I agreed to do it, hesitantly.

It has been 20 years since I worked with youth, and I was worried about crossing the age gap.  I went in and told them, essentially, "We're going to see what the Bible says about this.  I don't have videos or music to go with any of this, my overheads will be as "high tech" as we get.  I won't talk down to you, and I'll try not to talk over your heads.  If you have a question about anything, ask it, and if you're not comfortable doing that in the group, get with me later or write it down.  I will answer every question as best I can.  And, by the way, it might help if you take some notes."

They responded tremendously, lots of discussion, questions, asking for copies of the overheads.  A couple of them studied on their own and really added a lot to the class.  We are already planning to do a similar class on Praise and Worship this fall.

The best youth minister I ever knew was a grandmother in her 70's who loved "her kids", prayed for them and made herself available to listen to them.  The kids for their part adored her.  And you know, she didn't try to act like anything but the mature, godly woman that she was.

I say all that to say this, we do err if we assume kids don't want to learn the Word, or if we think they have to be entertained every minute.  Clear and open communication goes a long way toward closing the age gap.

OD

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« Reply #3 on: Sun Sep 08, 2002 - 21:34:14 »
Pinterest: GraceCentered.com

Offline pdwblw

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« Reply #4 on: Mon Sep 09, 2002 - 14:52:38 »
To all,
Good discussion.
Janine,
I think Booty just spilled his tea!!! :D

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« Reply #4 on: Mon Sep 09, 2002 - 14:52:38 »



Offline Bill

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« Reply #5 on: Mon Sep 09, 2002 - 16:04:07 »
Seems to me that the generation gap is an "man thing" rather than a "God thing".  I know a group of kids that quit a church youth group becase it was all fun & games and no meat.  They now have their own teen house church one night a week we a couple sets of parents helping in a support role.  They still do fun things but their emphasis is sharing God's word.

God thread.

Bill

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« Reply #5 on: Mon Sep 09, 2002 - 16:04:07 »

Offline WileyClarkson

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« Reply #6 on: Mon Sep 09, 2002 - 19:27:23 »
I agree with Bill on the generation gap.  It is something that is man made, unfortunately by the previous generations who are not willing to be open to the newer generations, what their needs are, or try to reach them on their level.

My wife and I raised our girls in a very small "local" congregation (and very narrow minded).  We were also the only leaders in our youth activities and received very little support from the elders and other members, most of whom had raised their children and considered it "not their duty" to have to support a teen program with only 3 to 5 teens in it.  Almost all of the expense came out our pockets. Working with a minister at another local CoC (12 miles away), we formed a youth group that attracted not only CoC kids, but some of the kids from the local Baptist churches in both towns that were also having problems with teen activities (our group numbered 15 kids at one point and the number of kids actually almost equalled the number of  members at our church).  We were able to do that by offering all these kids an environment of fellowship, teaching, devo's, and assorted activities which included entertainment.  What we did not do was try to convert anyone that was not CoC but was a member of another local church (one of the reasons we received very little support from our congregation in my opinion) and that provided a non-threatening environment of fellowship for these local teens.  We concentrated on teaching a Christian lifestyle -- not dogma.  These kids kept their fellowship going through high school in both school and personal lives.

I believe the most important two things for the teens today in our churches (across denom lines) are fellowship (includes study and devo style worship) and Christian entertainment (music - which is very important to teens!) on their level (extremly important!!!). The teens we worked with saw each other as Christians (in spite of the previous generation's views) and they did not recognize our self imposed barriers to the rest of the Christian world. Teens see the hipocracy of those walls much faster than we do!!!

Wiley

Offline chilidip

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« Reply #7 on: Mon Sep 09, 2002 - 19:54:46 »
:) Thanks for the input all of you.  Let's use whatever it takes to get Jesus into the lives of our young people.  Whether that is a "let's sit down and see what the bible says" or the latest high tech videography, the Truth is the the Truth no matter how it is presented.  I just am of the opinion that our  children are more visually and musically oriented than we give them credit for and thus we should utilize those mediums to their fullest extent to teach them about Our Lord.  I believe He taught in some of the strangest places using examples from the lives and times of the people He was addressing.  Shouldn't we do the same.  Let's  quit trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.  Our kids do want the Truth!  Let's give Him to them in the manner they are most likely to hear.  Let's get them excited about Jesus and what he can do in their lives.  Let's tell them how much He loves them in a manner that is fun (not boring), exciting (not monotonous).  Let's let them know that we'll do just about anything to make sure they know about the power of His love, the security of His grace, and the joy of having an intimate relationship with Him.  Yea God!!!!  Let's use any way we can think of to teach them about the God that made them and knows them better than they know themselves.  Let's not just teach them the Bible - let's show them the difference the creator of everything can make in their lives.  Do you believe He does?

Offline janine

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« Reply #8 on: Tue Sep 10, 2002 - 14:49:34 »
Fine points we're all making... we're all preaching to the choir, though.

As for what the Lord will do for us now, that's a rich area of study, 'cause of course our benefits of being citizens of Heaven start now... but... sometimes what He gives us in the now is the strength to endure evil, triumph over crippling disaster, or glorify Him on our way to the guillotine/lynching/burning at the stake...

I think the young people are ready to hear about that, too.

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« Reply #8 on: Tue Sep 10, 2002 - 14:49:34 »

Offline chilidip

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« Reply #9 on: Sun Sep 08, 2002 - 04:47:07 »
It seems to me one of the most difficult situations in a lot of churchs (pick your flavor) is being able to grow mature sheep in today's world.  How can we get leaders who may be 65-70 or older to first understand the younger generations world, then make Christlike decisions which will positively affect their eternal destiny?  It seems this generation gap is costing us our children's salvation.  They are leaving by the droves because "church" is irrevelant, un-enlightening, and basically boring.  Any comments?

Offline janine

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« Reply #10 on: Sun Sep 08, 2002 - 05:00:49 »
I hope to raise my kids with such a steely faith in God that when anything unChristlike falls on them from the pulpit, the Bible class teacher, or from me, it will roll off of them.  Let it all be as fertilizer in the flower bed around their feet.

Offline spurly

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« Reply #11 on: Sun Sep 08, 2002 - 14:19:31 »
I don't know the answer to your question, other than encouraging them to be real and to pass on the faith.  One elder once told me a very sad thing.  He said that my job as a youth minister was to train the students to be like the older adults in the congregation (specifically he meant that they are to like the same type of music, church services, bible school format, etc. that the older people like, just because the older people like it).

I thought this was extremely telling of where a lot of people are.  THey find themselves losing control in many areas of their life and they don't want to lose control in the church too.  They want that to be the same that it has always been - just because it has always been that way.

Just my thoughts.

Spurly

Offline chilidip

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« Reply #12 on: Sun Sep 08, 2002 - 20:34:43 »
I hope we can teach our kids that God is real, He is here with us, and He makes a tremendous difference in our lives.  I wonder how often we share with our little ones, be they tots or teenagers, what God is doing in our lives every day.  Do we see God working and point it out to our kids so they can get a glimpse of who He is?  Can they tell by our words and actions that Jesus is the Lord of our life?  He is, isn't he?  Do our church leaders promote love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Or is it the opposite:  hatefulness, sadness, strife, impatience, cruelness, Godlessness, legalism, harshness, and elder-control.
I've seen both.  For our next generations sake let's let God out of the box we often put him in.  He is infinitely more capable of taking care of us than we could ever ask or imagine
Let's teach our kids to trust God with all aspects of their lives.
And let this teaching begin with me!

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« Reply #13 on: Mon Sep 09, 2002 - 14:08:41 »
Thanks, OD, for that testimony. It's great to hear.

Offline janine

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« Reply #14 on: Mon Sep 09, 2002 - 14:15:25 »
If you've got "spiritual entertainment" available, lovely, we all want some of that from time to time... at least most of us do.  I have run into people who won't even listen to an outside-of-worship-service performance by a gospel quartet.  They seem to think entertainment is evil...

Anyway, "fun" is fine... but I believe all ages of Christians want to learn and take part in Bible-based discussions.  We just need to take the disciples seriously, no matter what their ages.

As far as benefits now for the one who follows Christ, I hope we show our youth that in our daily lives.  We don't have to look as if we were pickled in a baptistery full of vinegar every time we gather.

Offline Jones518

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« Reply #15 on: Mon Sep 09, 2002 - 15:46:47 »
This is definitely an interesting thread.  I was in a meeting with our elders just this weekend and this topic came up.  

In our town, some of our local denom churches are doing some very good programs, especially on Sunday nights.  We don't really do anything differently (same standard Sunday night service) & our attendance has suffered, especially among the kids and their parents.  One of our elders said that if the truth does not get them, nothing will.  

This to me represents the problem that this thread started with.  Don't get me wrong, truth needs to be told, and I agree with OldDad's post.  That grandmother made them know that they meant something to her.  My point is, you need them to be there to speak truth to them.  This is a major point.  Do we lament over the fact that the parents are not "devoted" enough to bring their kids every time?  This seems to go on a lot among the older brothers (especially at this meeting).  They complain about it, and basically resign to the fact that we are losing them.  However, we will not consider doing anything about it if it means change.  we would not consider looking into what they do simply because they are the "other" churches and we don't want anything to do with them.  Whatever they are doing, they are bringing a crowd.  Yes, we do not need to "entertain" people constantly, but we need to get them there to be able to be taught.  When Paul said that he became all things to all people, I think of this.  He reached them on their level, no matter what level it was, as long as he got an opportunity to preach Christ to them.

My thoughts at least.

In Him,

Jonesy

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« Reply #16 on: Mon Sep 09, 2002 - 16:05:38 »
Jonesy,
Amen brother, Amen!

Richard

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« Reply #17 on: Mon Sep 09, 2002 - 19:36:00 »
It has been my experience that most churches lack members in the 18-27 year old range.

I noticed it 20 years ago yet we seem to have plenty of 38-47 year old members today.

I think what you find is that the 18-22 year olds either off herded into college towns, in the military or exercising the new found freedom of Mom not waking them up and making them go.

As they grow older and start having kids and have bigger problems than getting a new car stereo they start coming back. Now they don't always come back to the churches they grew up in or ones like it but they tend to come back.

Offline spurly

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« Reply #18 on: Tue Sep 10, 2002 - 00:50:33 »
[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote (chilidip @ Sep. 09 2002,12:54)[/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]Let's give Him to them in the manner they are most likely to hear.  Let's get them excited about Jesus and what he can do in their lives.  Let's tell them how much He loves them in a manner that is fun (not boring), exciting (not monotonous)...  Let's use any way we can think of to teach them about the God that made them and knows them better than they know themselves.  [/quote]
Hey chilidip,

How dare you say that we should become all things to all people so that we might save some of them.   :p Just kidding, that's an awesome idea, and an apostolic one - are you the apostle Paul by chance?

Anyway, we shouldn't be afraid to do that.  Let's put Jesus in the vernacular of the people he is trying to reach.  Would Jesus want anyone to be confused about him because they don't understand the medium the message is presented in?  I think not!

Great post.

Kevin