Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Our Youngest And Our More Mature

I am a million year volunteer at our church, but Levi is our "official" paid church youth minister. He does a fantastic job in spite of his hectic schedule and life,..married and raising a 1 year old, working two jobs and going to school!
He has chosen Romans 12:1-2 for our youth to focus on this semester: (you know this verse)
I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Ya know,...this culture is hard on our young brothers and sisters in Christ.
They live and exist in a cesspool of promiscuity, drugs, profanity and broken spirits. They walk the halls, sit in class and eat at the lunch table with un-churched kids who have never even heard of the joy of a life in Christ.
Christan teenagers are in a minority.
To attend church is a rarity in most teen groups, and to have teens who attend regularly and more than once a week is almost against all odds.

Hang on to your computer chairs friends, 'cause I'm fixin to rant.
Not about any one person, 'cause I don't know who "they" are.
But I'm hacked off,.HACKED OFF I say! at the more "spiritually mature" group of people in some of our churches.
I have two girls in our little youth group who have been working hard each Sunday morning to assist in leading worship. They are both beginning guitar players and the songs they are asked to play are not always easy. The music is not exactly their type, they usually don't play the guitar to "We'll work til Jesus comes", but they are eager and they are faithful.
Our worship leader is very encouraging, affirming and the girls are having a great time in their new roles.

Recently "someone" mentioned one of the girls was wearing a short skirt.
OK. Fine.
I agree.
I spoke with the two girls about how you can not wear short skirts on a stage.
You can see things which are not supposed to be seen, not to mention we don't want people staring at legs when we are trying to point them towards worship of the Most High God.
The girls agreed too.

"They need to smile more!" many people in the congregation have mentioned.
OK. Fine.
I spoke with the two guitar players and they agreed that "countenance" is important. However, they said, it's hard to stand up in front of everyone, sing, try to hit the right chords and smile all at the same time.
Watch all other guitar players.
Do they smile?
(no they do not)

Last Sunday night, the girls led the worship by themselves!
Woo Hoo!
Several people in the congregation complimented them and for that, I am appreciative.
Several, however, were supposedly "bothered" that the girls were leading, one in knee length shorts and the other with holes in their jeans.

Not respectful?
Do I really think God is offended and feeling disrespected because of shorts and jeans with holes? Is that His rule?
Can I ask "Who are the mature ones here"?!
Why do some people treat their youngest, strongest brothers and sisters this way and then wonder why the kids don't stay in the church?
For me personally, I can hear 100 compliments and 1 criticism,..but which remark do you think stays in my head the longest?
How much more so for our dedicated, but insecure, teenagers?

I've told Levi that I'm not gonna take it any more and I don't want him to either. When he or I get a complaint from the more "spiritually mature", I am not going to nod and agree to discuss it with the kids.
Rather, I will ask those people how often they have said good things towards these kids who sit week after week in the front row of pews.
I will ask them what they know about the culture that these kids are forced to exist in daily.
I may ask them how often they pray for these kids by name.
I will tell them that the teens of our church are actually some of the strongest believers on their campus.
They would be doubtful, I bet, because the teens get on stage with,..(gasp),..shorts! holy jeans!
Oh for cotton-pickin sake.

deep breath........

I think that God is pleased with the fact that there is a remnant in this young generation of your church and mine who are not "conforming to this world".
As they are learning this, and how to "transform their minds", I think we need to remember how slow WE are to learn things.

Lord, please help ME to always be an encouragement to those younger than me in the Faith.
(and to those older than me too)


Shana said...

All I can say to that is "Amen." Something that I've noticed and has bothered me for sometime. Seems very Phariseeical to me, but I'm sure I have moments of that myself. ;)

Deonna said...

I wonder how we would have responded to John the Baptist,the rebel extraordinare. I don't think God found his appearance disrespectful.