Religious people are a very noisy, wordy, and active people. But activity for activity’s sake is not of God. We might first clear away the idea that church is a social club…We are a holy people, a royal priesthood, a holy generation called out of darkness to show forth the glory of the One who called us out…a sanctified people that are mirrors of the Almighty to reflect the glory of the most high God…to do less than this is to fail utterly, to fail God and to fail our Lord Jesus Christ who redeemed us. It is to fail ourselves and it is to fail our children…if a local church in one generation fails of its high design of worship, the next generation in that church will depart from the faith altogether. As a result the present generation succumbs to liberalism and does not preach the Word of God at all.
selections from A.W. Tozer from The Purpose of Man
A few weeks ago, my two teenaged sons went to another church with a friend’s family. Like a good father, I asked them what the experience was like. Their comments, which were not coerced, were enlightening to me. Here are some of the things they said:
- We went with our friend’s family but as soon as we entered the building, we all headed to various worship experiences. It concerned my boys that the family did not worship together (I’m glad they recognize that!)
- Once they got to their “youth worship experience,” they were not welcoming at check-in. The check in person simply wanted their information and offered no special word of greeting to them as first-time guests.
- The musical portion of their worship experience began with a secular song, which my kids found odd. They didn’t understand the purpose of doing a song that didn’t at least have a biblical theme.
- The band members were younger adults and not youth themselves. In their words, “there wasn’t any youth in the band.”
- The “lesson” portion of the experience only included one bible verse and was only loosely connected to the theme of the lesson.
After talking with them about it for awhile, numbers 1 and 5 seemed to bother them the most. They didn’t understand why the worship experiences couldn’t be combined, especially since they felt the music for all the services was similar in “style.” I tried to explain to them that the church they were attending believes the Sunday morning experiences is not the same as having a small group or Sunday School class…although they felt they were in a Sunday School class more than a worship service. I also mentioned that grouping in affinity/age stratified groups helped make the learning environments more “appropriate” for “educational” purposes. Still, they weren’t buying the idea of being apart (good boys!) Nevertheless, they had a blast. This church gets big points for making church fun!
Secondly, the lack of biblical depth concerned them greatly. They wanted more meat; they wanted to be challenged and changed from the Word (good boys!). We are thankful to be in a church fellowship that values the exposition of the Word. The Word doesn’t have to be dressed up to be relevant!
My concerns, which I already knew existed in this church and others like it, is the lack of biblical discipleship in the worship experiences. This lack of biblical discipleship affects the lack of intergenerational ministry as mentioned in the first point. The surface level biblical teaching does not bode well for our rising generation of believers. Knowing only some biblical concepts creates confusion for the young believer who does not know the Truth in its fullness. Just as Tozer rightly states, without a strong biblical foundation, liberalism abounds. It’s time we reverse this trend and take the in-depth study of the Word seriously…for future generations.