Church Genesis

The church needs a fresh start… it needs to be re-created. I am not sure if new churches need to be started to replace old churches or whether old churches can be restored, but change is critical. I think we are at that critical point.

When I say the word church, I am often referring to my version of church. My version may not be your version. The only reference point I have is the church that I have identified myself with over the years. The church I am familiar with is the American evangelical variety. I started out as a Southern Baptist in Texas, transitioned to Saddleback/Willow Creek style and those type of churches in the 90’s, and then have been involved in two or three non-denominational variety churches in recent years.

So needless to say… the church I identify with needs to change. But what is that change?

YOUTH

The first thing I believe that can bring about a change in the church is a youth movement. Churches that are currently in existence should seriously consider putting in leadership those under the age of 30 immediately. Obviously this doesn’t mean that churches shouldn’t recognize, serve or reach out to those in their 40’s and beyond. These ministries should and would continue. But the emphasis within the church should be the young, and it is time that the older and established among us begin to say this and say it loudly.

Recently, one church I know of was without a pastor but from what I could tell never gave serious thought to hiring anyone under the age of 45. That is very short-sighted in my opinion. Any church in existence that hires a pastor over the age of 50 to lead them in the future is sending a clear message of the direction they are headed.

Churches that currently have pastors should consider handing the reigns of the church to younger leadership. If I was a pastor of a church, I would find someone to come alongside me that was around the age of 25 and then mentor them for a couple of years, while seeking their input for changes that needed to be made in the church. Then as the elder pastor, I would help “grease the skids” for the changes to take place and seek to move the “younger person” into the lead role as soon as possible.

YOUTH AGAINST ESTABLISHMENT

I borrow this phrase from one of my favorite companies to work with called Volcom. This is their motto. And when I go to this company as a consultant two or three times a week there is an energy and creativity that is unlike any other I have engaged. Most of the employees are under 40 with a large majority of them in there late 20’s. The leaders of this company have a model that seems to force the company to get younger and younger. They are brash, irreverant, bold and leading the way in their industry. This company establishes the trends… and doesn’t follow them.

I like that model for the church. It is my opinion that a youth movement would do the same for the church. It is one way that existing churches could salvage what they have and build towards a brighter future.

Churches that aren’t interested in transitioning leadership full-time should consider another option. Maybe bring along a younger leader, and support his or her vision to build a church that is completely and utterly different than the established “mother” church. It goes without saying that, in my opinion, no one over the age of 40 should be starting a church anywhere.

We (the old people over 40) should be around to encourage, support and challenge the youth movement. When we embrace the young and show them we trust them with our future, they no doubt will embrace us as well… seeking our input, wanting our advice or wisdom… it’s a two way street that they will learn to enjoy and benefit from as will we.

We need youth in our churches, but it cannot be in lip-service only and their leadership in our services cannot be on “Youth Sundays” only. We need to believe that the youth will serve us well if we will let them. They have the energy, idealism and passion necessary to challenge the establishment at every turn.

WOMEN

Women should become apart of this Genesis as well. It is high-time the male-dominated church followed the path of Christ and exalted women in ministry like never before. There are several reasons for this.

First, it is biblical. Jesus and the early church welcomed the role of women in the church and never relegated them to “second-class” status even in those days and that culture. Second, women are uniquely qualified and designed for ministry. By nature, God has gifted them in ways that men can only dream about when it comes to being “shepherds” and “leaders”. Thirdly, women tend to be better organized than most men. They have the innate abilities to multi-task that most men lack.

We need young women to step forward for the revolution that is before us. They should be an equal part of what God will accomplish.

Finally….

At the age of 42, in many ways I see that my service to God has actually just begun. It has taken me this many years to find my voice. But many of the reasons I felt silenced for so long is that I felt that those older than me in ministry wanted to “hold me back”. It was my feeling that they were threatened by my energy and vitality. My ideas were “off the wall” to them and were only good for the “young people” of the church. If you are told long enough to “keep quiet” eventually that’s what you do.

I just don’t think we should feel threatened by our young people. It is time we embraced them, trusted them, befriended them and assisted them in taking over leadership of the future. It doesn’t mean that we will lose our voice in the process. In fact, I believe what will occur is a unique synergy within the church that will be unparalleled in its momentum and impact on the future.

40 thoughts on “Church Genesis”

  1. As to Jeff K’s post….I think I have said it before… but just in case someone missed it. I don’t have a problem with the organization of things. I said it on the podcast interview with Tony… I think it is sociologically impossibly for people groups not to organize. Josh and I “organized”, if you will, just by putting together a blog and podcast, putting some of our own money into it, setting up a schedule where we get together regularly to podcast, throwing together Taco Tuesdays, etc…. and who knows, I have a huge feeling we both see the need to actually do more organizing in the future for there to be maximum impact of any message we try to convey. Maybe we’ll surprise everyone with what we are really thinking about doing… but then again maybe we won’t.And I am all for raising money and gathering resources… loads of it… I just think churches should give more of it away than they keep for themselves. And I just don’t think we need as many parachurch organizations as we have if the churches were giving more of their money away….but that’s a vicious cycle that really sucks. Therefore I currently choose to give to many of those parachurch groups that actually use a high percentage of money to serve and assist those in need. But, again… this post isn’t really about this although I am sure it will come up again somewhere down the line.

  2. dufflehead,So, are you saying that the epistles are less inspired than the gospels?2Ti 3:16 ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:I didn’t think so. πŸ˜‰

  3. Well,I am on a journey that led me from denomstyle churches to small groups to Cell church to House church-which I am presently engaged in. The old denom I was pastoring in pulled my credentials after I had not run a franchise for them for 8 years. I ran off into house churchdom rejoicing. Now I do not run anything, just participate and pour all my seminary training into being a Kingdom participant. Since there are no ordained clergy (actually 3 of us in 2groups have been ordained) everybody who attends the house church meetings, be they male or female, slave or free, barbarian or civilized, are welcome to minister, providing they believe in Jesus and are moved by the Spirit to do so. There is a biblical balance and I don’t have to fight board members to do what I think God is telling me to do!Another Steve.

  4. Act 2:17 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:” I don’t see any conflict between this verse and I Cor. 14:35. (quoted above with a shot of Glenfiddich, lass)Women simply can’t do it in the church. The sin and error is that the church is in a state of rebellion because they don’t read nor do they follow the word. Their leaders are too effeminate to enforce the real teachings of the bible.Also, god gave you the bible to understand it. He went through alot of blood and tears to bring it to you. There is no excuse for your not understanding it. He even gave you the holy spirit and told you he would lead you into all truth. But, you have to stop denying what it says. If it says to be quiet in church, then be quiet in church. period. Just like you would expect your children to be quiet in church when you tell them to. Same exact thing. No deep mystery here.

  5. Can I address the issue originally brought up by KingCrimson??Instead of quoting 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, we should try reading it a little more closely, and in context. I think it would shed some much-needed light…<>Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 1Co 14:34-35 <>In a chapter that is dealing with the issue of order in churches, this verse really says nothing about women teaching, preaching, prophesying or praying in the churches. Contextually, these verses very simply are referring to women talking in church… read the whole chapter…Yes, there is a reference to Genesis 3:16, regarding the woman’s relationship to her husband, but ultimately, this verse seems to be addressing an issue that was specific to the church in Corinth… just like Paul addressed the issues of prophesy, tongues and other order in the church. Apparently, just as people were prophesying over each other and charismania was running amuck, Paul also had to address a small issue concerning women interrupting church to ask questions…I read this and it seems Paul is saying, “Ladies, if you have a question, wait to get home to ask your questions. Don’t interrupt the service if you don’t understand something, because it’s rude…”This and verses like it are hardly an argument for silencing the spiritual gifts present in the female gender…Even still, I find it interesting that many people (not all) who quote this verse also tell us that spiritual gifts like tongues and prophesy are ‘of the devil’ or something, when Paul clearly supports these practices.Should it be that we should speak in tongues more and criticize women less?? That seems more scriptural than telling women they can’t preach…imho πŸ™‚

  6. kingcrimson, what worries me about this kind of debate is it can make the Bible seem in contrary within itself. Does 1Cor 14:35 trump Acts 2 :17,no and one does not make the other at odds. If my child’s teacher sent home that note and then the child was in trouble I would ask what the exchange was because sadly I have exp a grade school teacher who was not found of Jewish children and made it known. I was honored when my very God loving, God fearing at the time 9 years old stood up and said something. Did she have to accept the reaction to her action, yes she did. I would not have her change it though.So does 1 Cor 14:35 mean that if a women has been given the gift of prophesy and God guides her to do so, within a service, should say no to God until she ask her husband?Or would your standing suggest that there would be no free movement among women within a church worship because God would have to wait until she counsels her husband?Could it not be both. Could not an orderly respectful worship take place and God free to move? I can respect and honor both passages they are not in conflict for me.So you know I never take God’s word lightly nor try to change it, I just try to understand it and for what I do not understand God forgive me.Your loved

  7. I see. Why should we trust Matthew, Mark, Luke or John then? They weren’t God either.Now, who should we choose to interpret which scriptures are proper for this day and time?Who can we trust? Or is it every man for himself?

  8. I have always wondered if women and men are suppose to work together in a Church. However there is a large movement to separate the two because of some less the Godly behavior by some. Women by nature all mutli thinkers and seem to be able to see the big picture as well as the small problem at the same time. But women are also subject I think to a larger proportion of emotional sway and that is not always good.Men tend not to be swayed so much on an emotional level and that is a good thing. But men also seem to focus on a problem and loose the view of the bigger picture or the opposite, see the big picture so much that they do see the smaller problem.Could it be that Men are a balance of emotion and Women are a balance of mutli thought and the two working each other come out with a balance that works in the benefit of God’s Kingdom.In Acts 2 Peter addressees the crowd in a manner stating that men and women will both be called in God’s will. I am concerned about women in leader roles however because emotional swings can be pretty difficult to remain objective.

  9. I am so sorry to everyone if I have offended in my posts, especially Mrs. Zeke. I never seem to be able to make it come out all cozy and fuzzy. I just say what I mean and then someone seems to end up getting hurt. But Steve’s post was such a shock and abomination, I just couldn’t let the word of God be twisted so far out of recognition without commenting. Again, I am sorry. I love you all.

  10. it’s true that they weren’t God, but they were quoting God.you can trust me. you should apply the gospels. the rest of it is really just an attempt to understand what was going on.

  11. Hey, a dual mega-comment on both of your blogs, and this is to the blogs in general, not this post only:I spent this morning reading your blogs, and I really love them. I love the detox. I love the courage of going against all the forces that are present in the social/religious gathering of humans in your locale that call themselves evangelicals. It really cannot be said enough how brave you are, and how kind you are for sharing your journey with others.I have been through as much crap as anybody with church during my many years of involvement in every level of church from youth worker, to elder, to janitor. I’ve done everything except get a paycheck (even janitorial was volunteer). I spent ten years in a parachurch mission organization and supported myself and even got a ministry degree.I’m from Southern California, but eventually I moved to NYC to become an artist. I’ve lived here a decade now, and had the interesting experience of seeing how different east coast culture and Christianity is from west coast.After years of being an artist, I got involved with a group of artists of faith that met weekly to encourage one another as we pursued our careers in the challenging NYC “secular” artistic community. No one planned it or expected it, but this group started growing and eventually became 300 people every week. Through that experience I ended up deciding to plant a church that would take many of the things we learned and allow us to go deeper than a parachurch meeting. So, now that is my new life, church planting pastor. I never wanted to be a pastor, but that’s how things have turned out.At some point in my/our journey here as artists in the midst of the “secular” NYC arts community and all the kind of new and original thinking we were accidentally creating by being in the “belly of the beast” in a way that was totally mystifying to our evangelical friends back home, I ran into the emergent conversation, and realized that a lot of its ideas were parallel to ours. It seemed like God was speaking forth something that although we were coming from different places, the core was the same.That all came into my life around the same time I began planning the new church plant, and so it enabled me to think through a lot of different things which really helped me. Here in NYC “the emerging church conversation” was not really on the radar screen yet, and so I had never met another actual human being who was “emergent”, or knew about it.So, one day I was sitting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, reading a book published by emergent (on small groups), and a guy sat next to me. I had been praying because I was going through some very difficult financial struggles, and other struggles with various decisions I had to make regarding the church plant. When I looked up from praying, the guy next to me who had sat there while I was praying, looked at me and said, “Hi, do you like that book”? It took me aback a bit, because who would know anything about some book on small groups? So, I said, “Yeah, I just started it, but why”? He said, “well, I’m on the board of the organization that published it”. I was shocked, I blurted out, “You’re with Emergent”?? “Yeah”, he said, “I’m Tony Jones”….Well, we had an awesome conversation for an hour or so, and that has led to a continuing friendship. At the time I didn’t actually know his name, but I had heard of one of his books.So, that’s my story of how I became connected to the actual group emergent, and now I gladly have the “friend of emergent” logo thing on my blog.Here, finally is my actual comment. I think I have an insight as to why you guys and some of your friends are not totally happy with Tony and some of his friends (and I would consider all of you my friends).In the same way there is some intrinsic thing within people that make some automatically lean towards being liberal politically, and some toward being conservative politically – there is just some thing which makes some people go, “oh, I see humans suffering poverty…let’s gather resources to help them through the government”, and others go, “oh, I see humans suffering poverty…let’s gather resources from all of our business profits, and let’s ask the government to get off our backs so that we can flourish naturally and help them and ourselves”. Both are trying to do good, but just have an opposite way of going about it.I think what is happening is, both you and emergent see the “poverty” of the church, and you simply are responding with different instincts on how to help it.I think you will both equally discover some amazing ways to help it. However, I would say that you guys are a little more angry and unwilling to be open than “emergent the organization” folks. I can guarantee that everyone at emergent likes what you guys are saying, that you represent an awesome voice of discontent with the state of things that will lead to change. They dream of guys like you existing in enough numbers that will actually cause the church to change. (However, they don’t like getting “yelled” at in nasty ways because they are human and have emotions).But even with that being said, they and I know that your anger is necessary. If people don’t get angry, nothing is going to happen. I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but, your anger is to me a very beautiful thing. It is like angry art – if you can get into the head and heart of the artist, it can be deeply transforming. It is a beautiful moment when you share their humanity, and you emotionally connect to their anger, and as a result you change for the better, you see how some of your stupid actions have hurt others and made them angry and in seeing it you reform that part of your heart a little. That’s why I am an artist.To more define the different approaches of you and emergent, here is what I see: A desire to see change organically grow through individuals and resist organizing vs. a desire to gather resources of intellect through writing books and blogs and organizing somewhat which requires finance.Here’s what I would like you to consider regarding the core inner motivations which might separate you.I think one of the most powerful events which affected the trajectory of American evangelicalism from both inside and outside the church, which hasn’t really been spoken about too much lately is this: The rise and fall of the Televangelists.The developing medium of television bore amazing promise in the early years – kind of how the internet is now. This amazing new medium that could get inside of everyone’s home. What if we could preach the gospel over it??? Wow, we could reach right into everyone’s home that wouldn’t even grace the entrance of a church and tell them about Jesus!!! And so with as much enthusiasm as a thousand bloggers, they went after it. Starting in the late sixties, and blossoming throughout the seventies and getting established in the eighties, they grew and prospered – evangelists through the medium of television.But it was expensive! And because it wasn’t a business model with advertising revenue to run on, they had to use the same power they were using to communicate spiritual messages, to communicate that they needed funding. And it was powerful, and they did raise tons of money. What all started so wonderfully as a progressive new way to evangelize, eventually led to so much money being generated, that one after another you had these guys fall prey to the temptation of greed for even more money. What happened was really a watershed experience in both the general American culture and the evangelical church simultaneously. The downfall of some of the big names within a relatively short time produced enormous press coverage, and tremendous embarassment, and confusion, and anger over being duped. Suddenly you could see right through what this had become, it had become a big money making operation, and it disgusted everybody within and without the church.I don’t think it can be overstated how enormously influential this was to the church and her place in American society. It caused probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions to lose their faith, and it caused probably as many more to abort their potential interest in this Christianity thing. There are still many people scarred from it.There are still millions of people who equate evangelical Christianity with smooth talking televangelists who are actually charlatans after your money.I think one of the huge fallout, aftermath things of this, is this attitude and mindset that now to be authentic and real, you have to not be in it for the money.There are many other aspects of the increasing institutionalism of American Evangelicalism which appeared to be about money and power that have left people today with a desire for something new that is fresh and organic and devoid of any money or power. We equate “authentic” with “no cash involved”.I think this is the classic, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.It doesn’t have to be “authentic” or “cash”. It can be authentic and cash together.It is not money that the bible spends tons of time talking about, it is our love of money, it is our hearts response to money.New ways for the church to go forward can have money involved if we learn where we went wrong with money and how to do it right. That doesn’t mean that in seventy years our forebears won’t evolve into institutionalism and once again abuse money. We can’t help the fact that the cycle of the “fresh new thing” that eventually becomes “institutionalized and corrupt old thing” keeps happening. It seems that is the history of mankind. What matters is that we realize that we just need to keep having the “fresh new thing”. Thank Goodness, that when the great-great-great grandkids who hold the licensing rights to “Stupid Church People”, (that money printing religious powerhouse of publishing/seminars/votive candle holders) are finally made irrelevant by a new fresh wind of real faith in some new movement. Maturity is being able to hold the thing that is the gift of God, and enjoy it without letting it master you. Fire, it is the gift of God for heating your home and cooking your children’s food or it can burn your house down or your neighbors.Sex, it is the gift of God for procreation and pleasure within marriage, or it can be used for porn and community destroying adultery and teen pregnancy and STD’s.Money, it feeds the poor, feeds your family, builds a church or it can strip a man of his soul in pursuit of it, and be used to control others and to assemble an army to attack your neighbors country.Beer, it tastes good, creates a pleasant social atmosphere, relaxes a man after a hard day’s work or it can grab you turn you into a person who releases all their other responsibilities in order to have it, who leaves reality and its bitter pain to live in a drugged state of denial.I would like to be someone who has fire, sex, money and beer in my life. I would hate to live without them because I am afraid they might take control over me.We all know the church is in a bad state. The fact that it is shrinking means that people are losing their faith, and new people are not finding the loveliness of Jesus.Anyone who really cares must respond to this crisis…we must find some new way to go forward.I believe that gathering people together requires some organization. When our little organic, no planning whatsover group of artists suddenly grew to 300 people in a year and a half – I learned firsthand that you need to organize some things. It serves the people that are coming and are hungry to have some organizing.Some of that organizing requires money to pay for things. If our heart is right, just as we have a freedom now to drink beer like we didn’t used to, and just as we have the freedom now to say some swear words like we didn’t used to, so we have the freedom to take some money and use it for good things. We can use it wisely and maturely. We can probably resist it controlling us for a good 40-50 years or so. Then we’ll get old, and some younger punks will fall in love with the money and screw everything up. But then some other young punks will vomit out their anger over that and reform things again.Humans will always gather and as their gathering grows they will begin to organize. It is the way that God knew it would be, and he gave us good teaching to help us do it well. The church has always house churches and big churches at the same time. By big church I mean over twenty people where you meet in a building that you have to pay for, rather than a home.You guys are still detoxing, taking some time away from church to get free from it so you can clear your head and start thinking of new ways to do things. Who knows what new ways you will come up with?But if you gather with some other people, I guarantee whether someone is paying the mortgage on the house you are gathering in, or whether you decide to band together as a community and share the cost of renting a place, someone had to build the walls and roof, and that real estate has value, and someone pays for it. So, if you want to be truly organic – with no money involved, make sure you meet outside. And I hope you’re in a warm climate, so that you can keep meeting outside year round. It would be a little hard to do that here on the east coast.Or, you can open up and realize that as the body of Christ you have the ability to use money wisely and to allow everyone’s gifting to flow and you can have some money and can organize – just make sure you do it all completely differently than in the past, and totally suiting the culture of your locale, and you will be able to create a place where healthy spiritual community – communion, can prosper and glorify God.Don’t be scared by money and organization. Overcome their power by faith, and use them for good. Try to see how Tony and emergent are a little more along on their journey in that regard, and are able to maturely use money to do the vital work they are doing. Not everyone reads blogs, some people still read books, and they need money to be published. Some people can’t afford a computer, but they can afford a book.Some people might be trying to do some new things, and they are up up against some big pressures from they’re church culture, and they’ve tried to have a voice, but it has been ignored, and they are near the breaking point, and they could really use a big gathering with other “emerging” types to be encouraged and inspired, and to build relationships. They don’t really have many others nearby them, and so they go to a emergent conference, and it really helps them on so many levels. That conference requires money.There are 370 people out there with amazing new ideas for the church to move forward, and it would be helpful if someone would step up and try to bring some organization and focus to a structure of some kind that could gather those different ideas and allow them to cross collateralize and synergize and build community and relationships and really end up creating some amazing new stuff that is far more than the separate 370 people all by themselves. That’s what emergent is, and it takes some money.Just like our little arts group took off and became a center of activity, and we had to do some organizing, so emergent started as a little organic thing, and who knew that it would take off and become a center of activity and eventually need some organizing. Maybe you’ll be so lucky that whatever you eventually end up doing would take off and eventually need some organizing, and maybe even a little money.I hope you appreciate some of my thinking. I know I really loved reading your blogs and have a great enthusiasm for what lies ahead of you. I think you are right where you need to be and I know Jesus is walking right alongside you taking you where he wants you to go.Love, Jeff

  12. kingcrimson I did not find your post offensive at all. I just don’t have anyway of approaching your post. You feel you have a perfect understanding of the Word of God or in the very least one without mystery and you may very well have one. I do not and am trying to understand more and more everyday.We are different parts of the same body, what we see is different, the sounds we hear are different. God is not different but our walks are in different places. I am as radical at protecting God’s Word as you which is why I did not want to engage past where we were. There was just nothing I could say cause we are seeing things different or looking at it from different angles.I am serious when I say your loved and have value, I mean itPeace your my brother

  13. I am all for youth being a part of the ministry,kids are given the same Holy Spirit that the adults are…there is no”jr version” for them.But there is also the issue of maturity not all 25yr olds are ready for the responsiblity. I do strongly believe that if we are TRAINING up our children, then by the time they are 17-18 they are ready to minister ! Charles Spurgeon was 17 when he lead the largest church in England!!!

  14. Kingcrimson, am I right in guessing these quotations are from the KJV? If so, in the spirit of King James, I will respond in similar tongue, as best I can.My liege, there is a rule that is little known around these parts. For every scripture thee quoteth, thee must partake of strong drink. Aye, ’tis true thou hath six quoted scriptures, therefore six drinks your tongue hath borne. Thou may partake of them one after the other or all at once. Drink up in good health and of good spirits.πŸ™‚

  15. It’s just my opinion about people over 40 not starting a church… of course it takes all types of people to reach all types. There is nothing to say that someone over the age of forty cannot effectively start a new church work. Nor do I think that people over 40 aren’t effective in ministry.As to the verse you refer to… I like what Jeff said earlier.<>In a chapter that is dealing with the issue of order in churches, this verse really says nothing about women teaching, preaching, prophesying or praying in the churches. Contextually, these verses very simply are referring to women talking in church… read the whole chapter<>

  16. Ok kingcrimson I guess you have your perfection early with a perfect understanding. Because of that there is nothing I would be able to say that would have any value to you.Take care of yourself you are loved and have value

  17. to support steve and at the same time contradict all of you, the bible was written at specific times to specific peoples about specific things. the only carry through that i can see are the words of Christ. other than that, you have traditional opinions.

  18. “But Steve’s post was such a shock and abomination, I just couldn’t let the word of God be twisted so far out of recognition without commenting. . .”it wasn’t. you just seem to like paul more the God.

  19. Mrs. Zeke,At the risk of sounding mean or picky, let me put it this way. If your child came home from school with a note from the principle that said:“Let your children keep silence in the classroom: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their parents at home: for it is a shame for children to speak in the classroom. Parents please sign and return to teacher.Thank you,Mr. McGillicutty”If your child was put in detention for disobeying this rule, who would you blame? The principal? The teacher? Your mouthy child?When christians accept Jesus, they agree to obey his word. That is what it means to be a christian. But, it seems when it is god almighty talking through his word, it seems to mean something else. How can that scripture (ICor. 14:35) mean anything other than what it says? I thought it was CRYSTAL clear. Is it not? And there are others to back it up. So it is not taken out of context.

  20. I’ve been kicking this post around in my SCP brain for the last couple days. I just realized this was one of the first “constructive” posts/ideas I’ve seen/heard on this site. It’s refreshing though I don’t think that deconstruction or being pissed off at the establishment is a bad thing at all.I found Jenny’s comment above interesting. I agree with her observation that young people can be extremely apathetic and “old school” in their thinking. I’ve seen respected men in their 60s who are extremely youthful. I recommend Jenny’s site to everybody. She’s a thinker.I do agree, however, with Steve’s seasoned conclusion that we have a responsibility to mentor and facilitate the transfer of authority to the young. Authority shifts aren’t something to be taken lightly. But Paul must have known the tendency of human nature when he admonished Timothy, “Let no one despise your youth.” I’m 38. I think we all struggle with passing the baton. Perhaps if those of us in our 30s and 40s begin to think through these things now God will see fit to use the painful experiences of our past redemptively to help the generation on our heels. I’m headed to an elders meeting in an hour. I hope to have an opportunity to breach this subject.

  21. I think your rhetoric* when it comes to the section on women could use some refining, and I know you have nothing but the best intentions. As a reader of your blog, however, I felt it my duty to rip apart the weaker parts of your argument in an attempt at constructive criticism. πŸ˜€<>I just have seen the tendency over the past several years among the 40-50 somethings to try and own shit and make young people (20-30 somethings) “earn” their way into a system. I agree with “paying your dues” on one hand and see it as a crock on the other.<>Your reaction to this kind of system is totally understandable, and my reaction indeed is the same. Age and experience are one thing, asshattery is entirely another. I suppose what I see as dangerous is swinging to the extreme — where before we preferred age and experience, we now wholesale prefer youth. Maybe another aspect of this is that I prefer my faith community to be inter-generational. Babies, kids, teenagers, youth, adults, seniors. (And not just because the seniors have all the money.) Handing over “the reins” to any one demographic segment seems dangerous. (Inasmuch as I find the concept of “reins” problematic.)That said, I think I understand the spirit, especially when it comes to communities that have excluded youth from the decision-making. Because that really sucks.*When I say rhetoric, I don’t mean it in the contemporary, derogatory way, but rather in the classical way. As in, rhetoric = communication.

  22. Z,You are correct kind sir.Tis only the KJV for me. And with this fine bottle of Glenfiddich lying about, oft times I fancy quoting a whole chapter! Aaarrrrggghh.

  23. “Somewhere, someplace young and old need to be able to come together…”There is only one body. Ephesians 4 states that. Churches or doctrines? Doctrines or Denominations?God will have a church without spot or wrinkle. God will have a people that walk in unity of the faith. His word will come to pass.But it will be HIS church, not the Baptists, Lutherans or Catholics.Does anyone see that being Christian has everything to do with Jesus and nothing to do with denominations and their doctrines where strife and contentions abound? There is only the doctrine of Jesus Christ.Christians need to fear God.

  24. I’d like to know more about 2 things. What do you think of an excited, energized 40+ person who says they believe with all their heart that they have been called by the Lord to start up a new church in a remote area? Do you still stick by your age limit? If so, why? Second, I would like to know if you support female pastors or what leadership roles you see women in? How do you interpret 1 Corinthians 14:34?

  25. About the feminism thing: There’s something we should probably understand about the early church. Previous to Christ, women were not allowed a role in religious life. Hence, in the early church (the church of I Corinthians, as it were) it was the first time women were allowed a place in spiritual life and gatherings. So, you have women doing this whole thing for the first time: asking questions, probably about simple subjects like faith, unable to grasp the more complex concepts because they didn’t have a foundation, which was a disruption to the ‘congregation’. So Paul told them to go talk to their husbands. It lines up with much of what Paul says about order in the assembly (such as public tongues, also – I think? – in I Corinthians).

  26. Ah, but we probably shouldn’t hire any 23 yr olds …and the old 60yr old either, right?Maybe it is time to re-think youth ministry afterall – it isn’t about youth nor just them and catering.

  27. I have to say I find your focus on youth over all a little odd. Maybe because I’m 23 and have known far to many young people who are wrong-minded and un-progressive. And I’ve known pastors over 50 who are progressive and forward-thinking and open to doing things differently, and indeed put those things into action. So I suppose your edicts don’t really fit with my own experience there.As a feminist, I dig the affirmation of women as full members of the church in every way. What I do not dig is the “by nature…” crap. Please. There are no positive or negative qualities inherent to gender or sex. When I read stuff like that, I see it as the same old, stale, essentialism that I hear from other evangelicals.

  28. but who said that? God?nope, it was paul. paul who was full of himself.so, you’re saying that women should have their head covered at all times?either you take it all literally, or you take it all in context.

  29. I made this comment at dinner at a friends house the other night. “We’re just going to have to wait until some people die off before we see change in some churches.” They were shocked I said it, but it is true. I know in the CRC churches I have served in this is so true. Youth is important to them, but tradition is even more important. Another problem that is faced is that by the time people die off, the youth are no longer young anymore and they take the place of ones who kicked the bucket and the cycle starts over. So somewhere, someplace young & old need to be able to come together and work on something greater then both have imagined possible.

  30. Great post, Steve! Thank you. I’m 38 and of a < HREF="http://advancing.blogs.com/advancing/youth_/index.html" REL="nofollow">similar<> mindset.

  31. I just < HREF="http://onefortruth.blogspot.com/2006/01/as-bible-clearly-says.html" REL="nofollow">posted<> on the “women teaching” thingie, FYI.

  32. Jenny… Thanks for your response. You said: <>As a feminist, I dig the affirmation of women as full members of the church in every way. What I do not dig is the “by nature…” crap. Please. There are no positive or negative qualities inherent to gender or sex. <>I was stating some generalities and that can be very labeling and confiniing (and I agree full of crap)… not meant to offend. I was trying to affirm women and some of the general gifts I have observed in the women I have had the privilege of working with… I think I just said it wrong.As for the youth assessments… I think young and old together creates a synergy that is much-needed. I just have seen the tendency over the past several years among the 40-50 somethings to try and own shit and make young people (20-30 somethings) “earn” their way into a system. I agree with “paying your dues” on one hand and see it as a crock on the other. I think I will write some more on this and seek to explain it based on some other thoughts I have been having… it’s a needed discussion as we look to the future.And I consider myself to be one of the progressive old guys… which is probably the first sign that I am not.

  33. I forgot to say what I really meant to say. I think your conclusion about younger and older members of the church is right on the money. But don’t forget that we young whippersnappers are pretty dumb sometimes, and we need role models too, godly people who have already been there.

  34. I agree. The church is in need of renovation. But as with any endeavor, you must follow the codes. Here are those pesky biblical passages that disagree with what you are proposing. And by these same rules, good ol’ church people will forever thwart any attempt at “genesis”.TRADITIONTherefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. II Thes. 2:15Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. II Thes. 3:6YOUTHLikewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. I Pet. 5:5The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, TAKING THE OVERSIGHT THEREOF, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; I Pet. 5:2-3WOMENLet the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 1Ti 2:12Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 1Co 14:35

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