Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I Was A Church Drop-out

Hi. My name is Jen and I was a church drop-out. (Everybody now: "Hi Jen.")

I never recognized this fact until today. I was on the tail end of a 2-day collegiate fall planning meeting and we were talking about a recent study concerning the reasons why people 18-22 drop out of church. In the middle of that data fest (that I truly enjoyed, I might add), I discovered that I once met the criteria to be defined as a church dropout. And here I am, now ministering through an institution I once eschewed. Is that ironic?

Once I got over the initial shock of it all, I began to press into processing the richness of what God might want to teach me in this. Some big questions rose to the surface: what differentiates the church from on-campus/parachurch ministries; do college students really desire to seek community from the church (is that a motivating factor for them to attend); and, essentially, what is church?

These are questions that will not be answered in a matter of minutes or days. There's a lot of prayer and reading that will be put into these first things. But seriously, isn't this something that must be done before moving forward? This is the beginnings of a philosophy of ministry.

Dang. That's scary.

2 comments:

Steve said...

I always appreciate the questions you ask. From one church dropout to another, I say, "way to go."

Seems to me Jesus asks us to leave "religion" for Him. I think millions of young Christians reach a point in their development when they either, to steal a cliché from dating relationships, "break up or get married."

For a growing number of young Christians, "getting married" -- diving into the story of God -- seems incompatible with participation in the programs, hierarchies, and activities of a local church. This was certainly the case with myself.

We should meet up sometime for coffee to talk about the kingdom of God in Boston!

Steve said...

I always appreciate the questions you ask. From one church dropout to another, I say, "way to go."

Seems to me Jesus asks us to leave "religion" for Him. I think millions of young Christians reach a point in their development when they either, to steal a cliché from dating relationships, "break up or get married."

For a growing number of young Christians, "getting married" -- diving into the story of God -- seems incompatible with participation in the programs, hierarchies, and activities of a local church. This was certainly the case with myself.

We should meet up sometime for coffee to talk about the kingdom of God in Boston!