I am frustrated today, and I don't know if I know how to put it into words.
I have worked in the Church since 1994. Up until July 2011, when I became senior pastor, I had worked as a youth pastor and worship leader. I have served in 4 churches with most of my pastoral career has in the current church I am serving. In these 10 years of service I have seen many teens come and go.
Over the last couple of years I have witnessed some of "my" teens seemingly turn their backs on the person they once called Lord of their lives. Bisexuality, sex outside of marriage, divorce and even sporadic or no continued church attendance are indicators of this happening. Each time I hear something else I loose heart. Has my ministry been for nothing? Did I fail to help these young Christians really understand what it means to be a kingdom citizen? Why are they turning away?
The American culture has such a strong allure. The allure comes from the fact that the culture allows for all types of sinful behavior. It does not recognize the Bible as a standard or foundation for moral behavior. So much so, basic moral living is not only frowned upon but discouraged. Society tells us that such ideas are antiquated and lead to intolerance in a tolerant society. So we have teens (okay, we have teens and adults) who continue to give into the culture despite the fact that God calls his people to be counter-cultural.
There really is nothing new in what I am saying. Culture, perhaps, has been the biggest enemy of Christianity throughout the ages. Christianity encourages a complete break from culture, but breaking away is hard when a person has been shaped by their culture from the day they were born.
What is the answer? Ultimately it is God who does the work, but he has called us to do so a few things ourselves. Jesus gave a mandate to the church and each kingdom citizen. He said to make disciples. I think this is where part of the problem lies. The Church (and the church) is not doing a good job at discipling. Part of the problem...culture. We have become too busy and too shallow. What many of us call discipleship is really a very poor reflection of what it truly is supposed to be. I will have to save that for another day.
All I know is I want to break the cycle. The problem is, I have not broken the cycle in my own life. I, like most American Christians, am stuck in a rut. God help me get out of the rut!