This past week I was hospitalized with what turned out to be viral meningitis. It was a very painful 4 days that I was in there. I had a constant headache and backache that kept me in bed. Add to that the spinal tap I had and you can imagine that my stay was not the most pleasant.
But during my stay I was incredibly humbled by the response of my church family. I had a million text messages, cards, meals, Facebook messages and I even got a Dallas Cowboy snuggie (I’m a huge fan)! I had people call and stop by just to see that we were ok and everything was taken care of. My wife and I were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love through God’s people.
But what does that have to do with your teenager? Everything. Some of the main complaints of the church are that it is irrelevant, cold, and that it’s full of hypocrites or fakes. And that may be true of some churches in America today but it’s not true of all of us. There are many churches today doing amazing things to help save people from disease, starvation, slavery, and to bring them to a point of empowerment. These people have been freed from Satan’s grip and are now able to care for themselves and their families. There are many churches today that live out the community seen in Acts. Believers that lived together in harmony, taking care of one another’s needs, followers that could not bear to see another human in chains and did whatever they could to help, disciples that lived the words of Christ to such an extreme that they laid down their very lives for those in this spiritual family.
That is the Bride of Christ and the example we should be living out. That is the church that Generation Y desperately needs to experience.
In John 13 we see Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. The King of kings lowering himself to the lowest position, a job so low that the master of the house would not allow a Jewish servant to perform, but would make a gentile slave do. When Jesus is done he talks about the betrayal that is about to occur and predicts Peter’s denial. In that prediction he says something so profound it should cause us to stop in our tracks and examine everything we do as followers. He says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Did you hear that? By this everyone will know that you are my disciples…IF you love one another! Is this how we are known today? Is this the first thing that pops into someone’s mind when they hear the term “Christian”? Is this what the church does? There are many who live this out daily, but the sad truth is that more than not, this is not the typical church experience.
I’ve grown up in the church and been a part of two crippling church splits. I’ve seen brothers and sisters in Christ argue and yell at each other. Tempers flared and accusation thrown, I’ve see Christianity get very ugly. And because of the fact that many others have shared that experience, millennials have walked away from the church.
My prayer for your church, for my church, for the American church is that we start loving one another. I pray that we would no longer allow Satan to sidetrack us and that we start loving people the way Christ called us to. I pray that what God did through them (the early church), He would do through us.