Well, I've had this overwhelming sense of being busy lately and as a result haven't really written anything on my blog for a while. I'm not exactly sure why this was the case but it was...

Anyhow, yesterday I went to a professional development session titled "Prayer and Church Growth". It was given by Stuart Robinson. He is author of a few books on the subject and was the senior pastor of Crossway baptist church. This is a pretty big church kinda down the roadish here in Melbourne. I think around 4000 people go to services there on a Sunday...

So he talked all about prayer and the importance of prayer and how he prayed early every day, and how God had done some pretty amazing things in his life. It was really encouraging and interesting.

And I felt pretty convicted that I don't pray enough, and have a large tendency to think that I can do a lot of my job in my own strength! Which is rubbish!

Anyhow, this morning I stumbled across this website run by some young guys in the USA. It's called the rebelution. It's a cool idea. I'm looking forward to reading their book when it arrives in Australia in the next couple of weeks! Basically they talk about young people are expected to be lazy and not really into Jesus or anything. Which means doing hard things for Jesus as young people is a great way of rebelling against the expectations society places on young people! I think there is a definite resonance in that. I remember at BayWest last year, some of the old people started a food drop off bin at the back of the church so that we could provide food to people if they came and asked for some. It was obvious that no one really expected anyone from the evening service (youth and young adults) to be apart of this. But when I challenged them to buy a tin of food or pasta, people responded to that. (At least verbally in the service, I don't know how many actually contributed food... hopefully some).

Anyway, I heard about these rebelution guys through a John Piper sermon I listened to. You can listen to it here. It's good. In his sermon Piper talks about how we don't expect much of young people and how stupid that is. I agree! How often we see people thinking, hmm youth ministry is a place where we put teenagers while they are a bit crazy or rebellious and hopefully they'll grow out of it by the time they leave the youth group. And the usual result of such an attitude? Well I think that the youth grow out of a church that treats them with no respect. A church that is irrelevant to them, and youth walk away from the church and sadly, away from Jesus.

The church that cares more for it's traditional way of doing things at the expense of seeing youth and young adults commit to being apart of the church, having a role, being relevant to young people who don't come to church normally, has a lot of questions to answer! I'm completely biased, but I reckon a lot can be said for churches being completely focussed on ministry to young people. That is where the most conversions happen, that is where there is the most life and enthusiasm, where there is the most optimism for change, renewal and growth of the church! That is how a church will remain relevant, and a great way to stop old people getting stuck in their ways or bitter. Not too mention that people who have been Christians for 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 years should surely put aside their way of doing church, their wants and their desires in service of nurturing and supporting new Christians, who are making their first steps with Jesus. People will say, "oh we need to teach the youth to sacrifice." I am convinced that this is the 'holy' way of an older, mature, selfish Christian saying, "I want things done MY way, the way I like it!"

Youth ought to be taught that being a Christian involves sacrifice. But if you teach that sacrifice means going to a boring, irrelevant church service, you're selling sacrifice well short! The kind of sacrifice that I want young people to know is much more costly than that. It means sacrificing friendships, good marks at school, friends, families, sport, because the call to be a disciple of Jesus is their number one reality. If we have churches that focus on reaching young people, of making sacrifices to cater to youth today. Then hopefully when those youth stop being youth, they will remember what the church did for them, and do likewise when they are 30 or 40!

Like John Piper says, we cannot be like the Israelites are in Judges 2:10, "After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel". Why? Because no one told them. Many churches are in danger of this today!

And as for young people... well like the Rebelution guys say, and like John Piper says, we should take 1 Timothy 4:12 to heart.

"Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."