Reaction to “The Generation Of Contrast”
Recently, when reading a Christian blog page about the five fold ministry, a comment by a young lady to the article caught my attention. It read:
"The church that I attend is unusual in that it teaches organic community, but it seems to me that the only organic community that is happening is with the staff who are together just about everyday. They are the ones who get to do “life together”. Sure we have small groups, but, none of the small groups that I’ve been apart of have ever actually done “life together” which is difficult meeting just once a week or twice a month. I’ve tried to “do life together” with people, but everyone is so consumed with their individual lives, work, family, etc. I often wonder ‘do I HAVE a life?’ They all seem perfectly okay with meeting once or twice (1 week day for small group & Saturday or Sunday for church) a week.
I was being discipled by one of my pastors and we used to meet once a month. But we haven’t met on a regular basis since last August. I wondered why, until I saw that she was “doing life together” with a couple of staffers at the church. I was becoming jealous because I wanted that, too. But, reading your blog, I just realized that what I am really longing for is organic community where I can know and be known completely without the titles of pastors, leaders, etc."
Ephesians 4 exhorts the church to “equip the saints” for the work of “service”, not “equip the staff.” In the above excerpt, I could not help but to hear this young lady’s cry for meaningful relationships through her church, not sporadic, professional, set a weekly or monthly appointment, relationship with a “staffer”.
It did not take this young lady long to realize that in a huge mega-church, it is hard to establish meaningful “life together” relationships. In reality, she could only get a professional/client relationship. She also realized that since the staff saw each other daily, their relationships reflected that. She too seeks a relationship that is not just sporadic: a Sunday morning worship service where there are only casual relationships is a huge crowd, or in a small group that probably was more of an organized Bible study than a group to build meaningful daily relationships.
This young lady’s need for “life together” relationships exemplifies the desire of this generations need for horizontal, linear, and meaningful relationships. Staff to laity/congregant relationship is looked upon as “doing church” rather than a horizontal, relation of “life together”. I have witnessed a situation where a need was shared to a senior pastor who began to look for a solution as a “human resource” perspective of which staff member should become involved rather than looking to the saints within his church to minister horizontally to each other.
What this generation is looking for is not a “professional” relationship when it comes to church fellowship, but a cordial relationship among peers that would deepen with time and commitment, a sense of community.