One generation which was always connected was the generation of teens and young adults in the church. In this era of rapid change, did something happen with that connection? Electronic “gismos’, the internet, social media – all have had their say in shaping tomorrow’s church goers.
Though we have kept the dynamics and the structure of the well-loved institution called church, more and more what we have in today’s world can’t be associated or compared to our traditional understanding of church.
Young people still love God and are serving Him in the real world, but some are beginning to feel there is no need to be associated with anyone or any group to do that. How did this change in attitude toward religion surface and how it will affect the future existence of this institution?
The values, world views and thinking of emerging generations are being shaped by a societal and cultural context that is increasingly foreign and distant from our church culture.” (Raj Attiken, president of the Ohio Conference) This phenomenon of unaffiliated people who want an honest relationship with God is creating a new generation of believers who are spiritual but not religious.
And the spiritual interest of this generation is processed differently. Their definition of truth is based on how it relates to their life. Whatever part of spirituality works for them is their truth. That denominational connection, seen by us as an asset, is considered a roadblock for them. “The effect of postmodernism, secularism and globalism is widely proclaiming this new philosophy saying that corporate identity isn’t very important anymore. They may still want the feeling of belonging, though not to a corporate brand, but to a group of people who have similar experiences.” Adventist Today, Loren Seibold, August 26, 2013
So is this the end of something we call church?
I don’t believe so. As the roots are different from the branches, so is today’s manifestation of the church different from the pasts. We can emphasize our differences and become more and more individualistically minded as long as we don’t forget who the head is – Jesus Christ.
He calls the shots.
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 NIV