June 15

“Sobering.”

That’s the word someone used last Sunday as we were speaking about the great day we had together as our church family sought God’s blessing for our kids and gave special appreciation to those working in our children’s ministry.

David Keen and so many others did a great job in the planning and carrying out of our activities. I’m sure you were encouraged to see the many young children up at the front, singing and signing the song, “Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord.” And I know you enjoyed the video of the skit our Journey Land kids put on as they looked back on all the great lessons they’ve had over this past school year in our first year working with the Journey Land curriculum and plan. I would say it was “most excellent!!” David did a great job calling us and challenging us in a very positive way to pray for our children and youth, our young adults and young families.

But the comment above came as we considered a special, specific moment in the morning assembly. It was when David called on all those in our assembly who were between the ages of 13 and 30, and asked them to come to the stage. And that is the right word. While that moment was encouraging, uplifting, gratifying, perhaps more than anything else, that moment was sobering.

And it was not just the number of our teens and young adults who were up there. It was that thought that about 60% of our children grow up right here among us and then leave the church when they move away from home. And just looking at that group, there was certainly no one we would want to include in that group, no one we would want to see put the God behind them and no longer have Christ or His church as an important part of their lives.

No one. And yet they will leave. That’s sobering.

I’m just optimistic enough to believe that it doesn’t have to be that way. And while perhaps even I’m not sure we will be able to get 100% to live faithfully, I’m certain that we can beat that 40% figure. But it will take some effort.

The survey many of you filled out Sunday morning is a good step in that direction. Being able to assess where we are, what we do, how we do things, and how effective we are, is a good step. A good first step. But we need to do something with this important information we will receive. We will have a couple more surveys in the next few months as we continue in this special program with the Barna Research Group. But as someone asked in my class Sunday morning, “What are we going to do with this information?” Great question. Just as Jesus said we are justified not by knowing things but by acting on that knowledge, I believe we must act on the information we are learning about the Millennials—born roughly between 1980 and 2000, the largest generation in American history (yes, bigger even than my Baby Boomer generation). And we must act on the knowledge we receive about ourselves and our own attitudes and ministry, concern and service toward others. To do anything else—or rather to not do something—would be even worse than sobering. It would be sinful.

More next week…

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

Leave a Reply