A Generation That Is Thirsty
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. I’ve been observing the church for several years, and what I keep seeing frustrates me.
It frustrates me because the church is shifting it’s focus. It’s abandoning time honored truths for new and improved attractional methods because they think they need to re-market, perhaps re-brand Christianity.
This is false.
This is so very false.
I’m watching churches fold their ministries and their programs. I’m watching them try on new styles of worship and new ways of “reaching this generation” with the gospel, and I’m sorry. I disagree.
The God I serve is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is never changing and His way is the only way. No one can come to the Father except through Christ Jesus (John 14:6), and trying to repackage that loses it’s appeal and it squanders the power of the Spirit at work in the Church.
I’ve had enough.
Consider this a plea from one of those “generations” you’re trying to reach with the gospel …
Stop trying to figure us out.
Stop marketing to us.
Stop treating us like ignorant children.
Stop assuming you know us.
Stop texting us.
Stop creating online Bibles studies for us.
Stop talking through a screen to us.
Start inviting us into your life.
Start talking to us about more than how cute our kids are.
Start asking us about our walk with the Lord.
Start telling us about your time in the Word.
Start inviting us to meet with you for coffee to chat about Jesus and what He is doing in each of our lives.
Church, we are thirsty for God. We are thirsty for truth. We are dry and parched. We are malnutritioned in the teaching of God’s word.
We flock your gates for something more, something different than what the world is giving us, telling us, teaching us. Stop giving us what the world has already given us.
You will never be fun enough. You don’t have enough money to entertain us.
You will never be the world because you aren’t of the world.
You, Church, have been called out of this world. Stop trying to look like you’re something you are not.
You, Church, were set apart as holy. Stop compromising truth. Stop making excuses. Start holding your teachers accountable to faithful teaching of God’s Word.
Stop expecting less of your people and start expecting more. More accountability. More zeal. More repentance.
For the love of God, start preaching the gospel. Start preaching repent and believe. Start living as though Jesus is the only thing worth living for.
For the love of God, give us Jesus! Give us the Word of God, the truth of the gospel!
When we hear the Word of God, the thing that is sharper than any two-edged sword, able to pierce the joints and marrow (Hebrews 4:12), we will be cut to the heart just as those who heard it in the early days of the Church (Acts 2:37).
And we will devote ourselves “to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). And awe will come upon us and we will begin to impact this world with a gospel-love because we’ve been gospel-changed!
We will start selling our “possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in [our] homes, [receiving our] food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people” (Acts 2:42-47).
Then, Church of Jesus Christ, you will see the Lord add to your number those who are being saved.
But the question is …
Do you believe in the power of the gospel? Do you believe that His Word is enough?
Or will you continue looking to the world for wisdom on how to “reach this new generation of people”?
Return to the Word, Church. There you will find power unto salvation.
Leigh Ann!!! Yes. Stop compromising truth. We recently came across a video series by a popular pastor (God is still using him and I’m so thankful), but he’s talking about the need to reach younger generations. It’s so disappointing. You reach people with the Gospel, not gimmicks. No more compromise!! Let’s go!!
So much truth here! I could not agree more! My heart breaks for some of the “changes” I’ve seen made, all for the sake of “reaching Millenials” or “appealing to a younger demographic.” It is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance, and I take comfort in knowing that no matter the church “flavor of the day,” the Lord is still sovereign and His Will will still be done.
This is so amazing and ever so true! We want the raw, real truth in this life and so many are looking for ways to “sugarcoat” things that need to be said. But we need the harsh truth! That’s honestly what sets us free (: awesome word!
GLORY TO GOD.
HALLELUJAH. PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME!!
In caps cause those are SHOUTING words. I could feel your intensity build as you wrote the article. All I can say/add is I will be praying..interceding for The Body of Christ.
YES. YES. YES. And Amen!
A watered down gospel is not the gospel at all.
A church who seeks to entertain and attract, to “fill empty seats,” advances nothing in the Kingdom of God.
The watered down church has all the appearance of Christian living, but none of the power. None of the Truth that sets men free.
And there are many who are desperate to be free. Many who long for the Truth of the Gospel. The real Gospel.
There is so much more to this life than what so many have been living.
It is time for the church to stand up and take her rightful place on this earth, and that is as a force to be reckoned with on this earth! We have what the world needs! We hold the answer! If we would but shift our focus from growing and expanding our churches, to declaring and expanding THE KINGDOM, our churches would automatically grow! Our communities would be transformed!
Amen. Amen. Amen. Yes!
This is powerful, thought provoking, and I appreciate Leigh Ann sharing!! Hope we aren’t placing all the blame on current trends in worship and ‘Today’s Church’ because we each are the church, responsible for how we are doing in being Christ to the world each day. As a parent of young adults who believe in Jesus but want nothing to do with ‘the church’, I’d like to say the trends in being ‘attractional’ are not all bad. It’s what they do to bring them to Jesus and The Word of God and to disciple them in their Spiritual Walk with God! Are individual’s lives transformed and in turn touching those in lives with the Love of Jesus? It is so true that the trend in churches has been to water down and twist the Gospel, to not offend at any cost, often with nothing to offer or challenge the people who come to them! We are to be ‘in the world but not of the world’! Jesus Christ was counter cultural, depended on His Father, spoke truth In Love, relied on God’s Word and radically changed people’s lives with God’s Love and Grace!! I love our ‘Rock-n-Roll’ church family because prayer is a priority, the Truth in God’s Word is preached, people feel they can come with all their stuff because they are genuinely cared for — in turn they care for each other & the lost!
In Christ’s Love, Esther
This is so true, and such an important message!
Thank you, thank for ou, thank you, thank you…….I could go on and on!!! I have felt exactly…almost word for word…..what you have written here today! We are so far gone from where we should be as the body of Christ…….it has saddened me for so long and my heart breaks worse every day that it continues. Why do we as the Church feel a need to compete with this world? It’s. it a competition we will ever win and the thing we should be winning……SOULS…….are falling by the wayside left for dead!! It is PAST TIME that we wake up and do something about the falling away we are doing as the Church…the Bridegroom of Christ should be carrying themselves in a manner that says we are ready to meet the Groom! I could not have out this into words for myself any better than what you have done! Thank you one more time for putting this into writing and not being afraid to post it!! We are standing for the wrong things too much of the time nowadays and there needs to be more people like to light a fire under Christians today!! God bless you my sister in Christ!!
I have been struggling with things that has been happening in my church, but just couldn’t go back. I felt like they were choosing where to minister and serve with out prayer and I have to say it didn’t quite work well. I have seen good things thou but I just don’t feel the spirit. I’ve been trying to really put my finger on it and this is it. We are putting worldly ideas and things into our churches to try and reach more people but God says to leave those behind. I have decided not to be called a Christian but a Christ-like follower.
I agree that it feels like 80% of churches are catering to the flesh instead of God. The world is waxing worse not better. Ppl care more about what others think than what God thinks.
Thankfully, not all churches are the same. I go out weekly visiting, talking to ppl about salvation and inviting them to church if they don’t have one. It’s sad when they care more about the music, what we give away, how we will help them financially, and what we have for kids more than what we believe and preach. Ppl think it is weird that we sing only the old hymns, but have they ever compared the words. The words are packed with doctrine and encouragement.
I know what my church and I believe is “outdated” and not cool, but I’m thankful my church and I put Christ before popularity and feelings. My
Thank you Lord for my parents who took me to the Baptist church. It is independent fundamental for a reason. Most of Bible first. I’ve definitely been sheltered by His Grace. God has crazy blessed me.
I totally agree!! Thank you!
Wow… wow. I visited a church a few weeks ago and wondered why they were using a smoke machine during worship… I love what you said. We need to stop trying to look like the world. Do we believe God’s word is enough? That’s really where it all begins. Thank you for this.
You are so right. I’m an Episcopalian who attends the very last traditional parish in my oh-so-progressive diocese, and I have seen first hand how passion for a man-made “gospel” destroys faith, breaks the heart of believers, and shuts churches. As the rest of my diocese circles the drain, my own parish, which still preaches “the faith once delivered to the saints”, stays strong, with lots of young people.
I sincerely hope that evangelical churches are not going down the same crazy road as Episcopalians and Congregationalists, but once you fix your eye on human plans instead of God, you have started down the wrong road.
Thanks for saying what we all feel. Thankful for truth that will stand the test of time and prepare people to face God at the end of their lives without fear, for they have been KNOWN by Him and His body on this earth.
Amen! Thank you for sharing your heart. We need to know that we are not alone in this struggle. It took us 10 years to find a church that was preaching the Word and still using a hymnal. My family has never been happier. People ARE hungry for the truth!
Amen. Amen. Amen! Thank you, Leigh Ann, so much. These are the thoughts of my heart, in writing.
Well said!!! I am not one of the “targeted generations” but I long to be able to help reach them with the love of Christ since my grandchildren are very much a part of that group. I agree that the simple gospel is what will win them over, but those of us who are already a part of the church will have to start living as if we believe it. Hold back our judgmental behaviors, our obvious hypocritical actions, begin to let Christ work through us with His love apparent in our lives. I so agree with your words today. Keep on keeping on!
AMEN and AMEN!
Yes, our poor church has been falling apart ever since this new preacher came and changed everything to attract the new generation. Not to say his ways are bad and wouldn’t attract people but go somewhere else and start a new church . don’t come in and get rid of our Choir, get rid of our Sunday nights, get rid of our worship style , and keep changing and changing . It worked just fine for the previous pastor that was there 26 years . I think all the new changes tarps the young kids and the new Christians that we don’t know what we’re doing . We’re not given stability . Just give us the word and quit trying to put on a show .
Tells not tarps
Thank you so much for posting this. I wish more people would hear this. I’ve posted a link back to here on Facebook. I’m praying more people in the Church will step up and be more like Christ and less like the world.
God bless you for standing up and sharing this as the Lord has lead you to write these words.
Very true and powerfully written. Let this be our prayer for the church.
Thank you Leigh Ann for putting in print my feelings about where the Christian church is headed. I am frustrated about it also and I am sad to see myself and other ministries distracted from the truth of God’s word. I have been blessed to be guided to a church which teaches & preaches the truth from God’s word, no bells or whistles, no frills, etc. Seeker sensitive ways of reaching people is what I’ve seeen so many churches doing. I love God’s word and have matured under the guidance of my pastor. I had to be willing to keep searching until I found a church who is willing to preach God’s word and the tough condemning parts too.
Oh! You just spoke my heart. I have been feeling this so much lately. And yes you hit it right on when you spoke the word “thirsty” I couldn’t have spoken it any better. Thank you! May we all be so bold! Bless you!
I totally agree with you. I am Jewish but was raised Roman Catholic. I was always unhappy with that church. It just did not feel “right”. Then I married my beloved and he talked about the Tent Meetings he had attended when he was a child. I mentioned that I would love to attend one but even 47 years ago they were on the wane. I don’t know if it was because the ministers could not find open space to set up. But there was one Church at that time that had a campground and they always had tent meetings in the summer at the camp and although my husband said I would not enjoy them I drank them up. I wish there was someplace where we could have a tent meetings today of course we need the Old Time preachers today. Without the preachers their will be no revival.
Thank you, dear Leigh Ann, for speaking to my heart. You are truly a blessing.
I would love your insight on what I am going to say and I hope it comes across the way I sincerely mean it. Growing up in a very conservative church (prob. legalistic in many ways) I’ve seen where trying so hard to stick to the “old way” can kill the spirit. I really connect with many modern worship songs and I totally agree the gospel shouldn’t be compromised. I struggled so much with assurance of my salvation under an evangelistic preacher and also, did not grow at all. Having said that, I’ve had a very hard time getting involved in a much larger church where we moved, even after joining a “small group.” I am def. not an outgoing person which may be why I’m struggling but I DO agree that it is too impersonal. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and others while being at home but I have really lacked much face-to-face interaction with godly women. Any suggestions or advice?
I think we have all struggled to connect from time-to-time, and probably more often than many of us care to admit. For me, I have found prayer to be the best conduit of forging relationships that are fruit-bearing and God-glorifying. I’ve moved a lot through the years, and I often feel like I’m starting over again with relationships. I’ve learned that it takes time to grow relationships and we have to be patient in the process. In the meantime, as we wait and watch for the ones God has for us to dive deep with, we should be praying. Pray specifically for your needs, pray specifically that God will bring you one or two women with whom you can share life. Maybe this will be through the small group setting, maybe it won’t be. For me, it’s usually turns out pretty random whom the Lord gives me to tether my heart to. So, pray and watch what the Lord does. He has never failed to lead me and He has been a constant friend to me as I seek out earthly friendships in my ever changing circumstances.
Yes!! This is what my heart has been crying! I long and pray for people of genuine deep spiritual mindset, but as a young adult, my generation seems less than interested and it’s frustrating. I desire a “sharp iron”, someone that I can mutually “spur on” in the Gospel. Where is the passion, the zeal? Show me the God that lives in you! Open the mouth He has given and praise, share what He’s teaching you!
It has to start in the private heart first though before it can bleed into others. Seek God, so that you may know Him for yourself and inspire others to do the same.
Thank you, Leigh Ann, for writing what so many of us are seeing and crying out.
AMEN!!! AMEN!!!! And did I say….AMEN!!!!!! I’ve attended regularly for about 12 yrs a small, country church. Our numbers are growing rapidly. But for some reason, NOW more ‘modern’ things seem to keep creeping in as a way of ‘attracting’ young people. Why?? Our old, traditional ways have pulled in TONS of people so obviously they liked the old-fashioned ways we used to have. They left ‘modern’ churches for our ‘old-fashioned’ one. Churches need to go back to the old ways. Yes, it might not be ‘cool’, might step on a few toes, might not even been ‘politically correct’ BUT we’re here to serve God not man & to win souls for Him…..not ‘keep up with the times.’ Thank you for your thoughts & comments on this topic. Nice to see I’m not the only one with these feelings!! God bless!!