This week I posted an article on Facebook entitled “Six Reasons Young Christians Leave the Church.” The article was informative and has inspired a bunch of conversations, but what intrigued me most about it was how quickly it was reposted by others. The Barna piece was emailed to me by Dan Pappa over a month ago. I finally had time to read it and thought it worth offering up for conversation. Within a day it was being reposted in numerous circles and commentary was being offered from all corners.
All of this got me thinking, or should I say rethinking. Another recent post that made the rounds was a Youtube video entitled, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Spoken Word.” This video has been viewed more than 16 million times and has garnered more than a quarter of a million responses, most being positive. The video has stormed Facebook recently as well, which is precisely why I refused to view it. If something goes viral whether it’s a video, a tweet, a book, or even a prayer (e.g. Jabez), I tend to avoid it like the plague. There is just something hardwired in me that doesn’t want anything to do with what everyone else is on board with. The results of this are mixed. Often it helps me avoid the “pass this post on for 10 years of blessing” garbage, but it also can mean I miss out on a great message or conversation which was true in the case of “Why I Hate Religion.”
Now, I am not saying that everything in the video is theologically correct, but I will say that his point of loving the real Jesus, the one who was considered a drunkard and a glutton is a challenge for the church. I frequently catch myself wanting teens to act a certain way, to behave more like me. This form of religion has nothing to do with the person of Jesus – it’s religious behavior modification. Youth Ministry should not be about behavior modification, should not be about creating obedient kids, or getting kids to say and do the right things. It should, however, be about helping teens discover the real person of Jesus, and learning to accept the deep, deep love Jesus has for them. In this way, I agree that I hate religion – if it means behaviors disconnected from true relationship.
Moving on to a couple of other notes, we are really getting excited about all that we have coming up this year for the teens. In April, we will be serving with Flower City Work Camp in downtown Rochester. This is a great opportunity to minister to families that need home repairs right here in our own community. June will begin our summer TNT (Tuesday Night Thing) series, which includes trips to Seabreeze, pool parties, and miniature golf. July will be the first of two mission trips. The July trip will go to Romania to help with some construction projects, VBS, sports camps, and a photography ministry. The August trip will be to Poland and will include conversational English classes, American sports seminars, and day trip to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Between these two trips is our annual canoe trip to Algonquin. If you have interest in learning more about these events, please contact us through the Pearce Web site.[spacer style=”dashed”]
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