Why do People Join a Church/Organization – Why do People not Join?
Something PLI has taught me is to listen. Listen to what people are saying and empathize with what they may be feeling.In the past months I have had the opportunity to talk and listen to people, specifically Millennials, and 20 something’s. These are the young people of our “world”. They are the ones not really attending churches. Oh, they will join organizations; however they want to join an organization that is “serving” people. They are interested in what organizations are doing for those in need, the homeless, those who have experienced tragedy in their lives. They want to “help”. They are willing to get their hands dirty and to put their money where there is a “need”.
In December, my grandson turned 20, that is hard for me to believe, but he is now serving his church as a youth leader and studying to be a youth pastor. He has gone on several Mission Trips in Mexico, Equator, as well as other countries. Each time he taught Vacation Bible school,performed skits and music for the “street kids” and built houses for families. It was a great experience. He is now training young people to do this mission work. I asked him about his youth group and what they like to talk about. I was surprised at his answer, “nothing grandma”. Of course my response was “WHAT?” He said it was just important for them to get together with their peers and talk, snack on some “junk food” and be allowed to talk about nothing and everything.
Their youth come from a number of different schools in the San Jose area. As the kids gather it may start out quiet, but soon they are talking about what concerns they have, what is going on at school, their parents, and their friends. As the evening goes on the groups start to merge. One group from a school will say, “Oh yeah that happens all the time at our school, and pretty soon the groups are merging and talking about things in their lives. It is a safe place to be,they talk, they eat and they have Bible study and play games with each other. Sometimes the games don’t happen because they are talking about “stuff” in the news. Many times they talk about what they can do to help someone they know, or even how they can help those who have been touched by a tragedy, like the fires up north.
I then asked the question “what keeps you from going to church or an organization”? The answers were varied. However they were willing to be honest and open with me. I heard, we don’t want to go where we will be judged, we don’t want to go and just sit and listen, we want to have a “say” in topics. We want to go where we are accepted and heard for who we are; we don’t want to have to fit in to the “status quo”. We would like lively music, music that speaks to us. We want to ask questions and not be judged for asking them. We want to be heard and accepted as we are. We want to contribute to society and make a difference. We don’t want to be controlled, we want to have a “say” in things and the ability to change and serve. I also heard they feel they have been let down by adults over the years.
A few answered with “I don’t need God”, “I can do it on my own”. I pray for these young people and will continue to pray for them and love them. That is what God is asking me to do. I need to be friends with them first, before they can see Jesus. I am not going to change them right off the bat, I am really not going to change them; that is God’s job. My job is to listen and be their friend, love the fact that God loves them and accept that I too am a sinner and forgiven.These young people are our future, they have something to say, and they have something to contribute. They are wise and they are informed, they want to be part of the growth of the organizations they choose to join. They are loved by our Lord.
In HIS service,Debbie Oatman