Have been cleaning up my house and office in preparation for a hopeful move. In doing this I ran across some notes from a conference I attended quite a while back that stirred a number of thoughts.
One of the speakers was Donald Miller. This was the first time I had heard him give a talk which I was quite excited to here.
In the midst of his talk he tossed out this grenade and just left it rolling around on the floor.
“Why is it that when we invite people to find Jesus we invite them to our church,.. our institution?”
My thought initially was, “yeah, why do we do this?” Jesus as you know was less than thrilled with the institution of his day. Jesus called Peter to start his church. But I’m sure how we use the church as a the default method/behavior for introducing people to Jesus is not exactly what was in mind.
Same can go for youth ministry. When we want to introduce youth to Jesus, what are we inviting them to? Are we inviting them into a relationship with us, a small group, or a community of people? Or, are we inviting to a membership status?
Do we opt to invite to our institution and structure so that we don’t have to get involved in their messy life? Maybe we do this institutional invite so we do not have to expose our messy life. We possibly do this because we feel inadequate inviting people to a relationship with Jesus because we feel inadequate about our own relationship. We hope that someone else is more capable to lead them to Jesus.
Now, the institution of the church is not all bad. It has serviced the faith for some 2000 years. We do need to move away from a subconscious behavior of inviting to the institution & inviting into a relationship with us and our Jesus. Might be messy, might screw up, might not have all the answers, but it is faithful and honest.
What do you think about how we invite youth (and adults) to Jesus?