Lately, I've been having an issue with complacency. In Raytown, Missouri there is a hot issue about the City Government trying to sell a piece of land to Walmart. Like most people my age I'm not the biggest fan of Walmart and often get mad at myself for even walking into one. They are too dang convenient and their prescriptions are so reasonable! Agh!
The issue in Raytown right now is that some citizens want to preserve this vacant piece of land for local business. They've been crying out in uproar over it since the idea went into effect.
Here's my issue:
Why the uproar now? The Raytown Baptist Church used to stand on the site and probably about 10 years ago, the city tore the building down because of asbestos issues. And for 10 YEARS no one has had anything to do or say about this large green space. The two things that I know that occur there are the Summer Community Festival that has taken the place of Raytown Round-Up Days and the annual Raytown Easter Egg Hunt.
Now that Walmart wants to build and Raytown wants to sell, the outcry of a select few is ridiculous. Ah, complacency!
Often times we sit back, waiting for others to fix an issue, but if its not the way we want it done, then bah humbug! We want to call shenanigans. And this is an issue in all aspects of society and it makes me go crazy. It happens in our work places, governments, churches... especially churches.
What are doing in the church? The older generation is sitting back just waiting for the younger generation to step up. However, when we do, we are pushed back and ridiculed for our efforts. This is unhealthy and does not create a sense of hospitality for people seeking spiritual guidance in their lives. Many people will walk into a church that is fraught with negativity brought on by issues of change. Many people in aging congregations wonder why new people don't come to their change. I'll tell you why, 30-somethings don't understand how the 50 to 60 year old crowd operate. We are not interested in committees and boards as ways to develop our spirituality. We want to see the church living in service to the world and being actively engaged in ministries. Jesus calls us to pick up our crosses and follow! Jesus served. The Bible doesn't mention meetings where decisions were made. Jesus worked for the transformation of hearts.
That's what the younger generation wants from church. A place to engage in spiritual development and a means to actively engage our brothers and sisters who are marginalized and suffering.
However, we are forced into our place. We are forced into areas of complacency and then we move on to where we can be active participants in the upbuilding of the realm of Heaven.
Rev. Jim Preisig in his blog writes, "most folks act as if everything will be fine, or worse yet that someone else will take care of things. Is it just possible that the world is waiting for someone like you and me to finally dare to speak up and make the changes necessary in this complacent world? (italics is my wording of Rev. Preisig's words, check out his blog here: http://www.jimpreisig.com/)
Bishop Robert Schnase encourages churches to listen to its younger leaders because we see things differently. Change can be incredibly tough especially since we are conditioned towards routines and complacency. For those sitting on church boards who are wondering when the younger people will step up, I implore you to invite those younger people you know to be in leadership roles. And when they offer you a vision slightly different from the old way of doing things, don't be afraid, give it a shot.
Change is challenging, but for the most part it creates new life and is rewarding.
Peace to all!