Thursday, August 19, 2004


I guess this is a dangerous post to write. I suppose its like showing your cards in a hand of poker. Nevertheless, I've been thinking about it lately, so I'll get it out here. Besides, not that many people read this stuff, right?

Anyway, here it is: I was reading a book last night that was pointing out (as most books I read these days) how the church has become very self centered and obsessed with maintanence. This particular book went on to say that it didn't hold out much hope for most institutional churches to change and become more missional. Admittedly, there are days that I'm inclined to agree with them, however, the majority of the time I don't agree that this is an impossibility, so here I am in Youth Ministry. I honestly don't hold out much hope of adults in this generation magically getting it. I think most of them are too steeped in self-centered-salvation based Christianity. On the other hand, I am teaching their kids something much bigger. I'm teaching them the Gospel. Its a Gospel that is about BOTH salvation AND redemption. It's a Gospel that teaches that Grace has a purpose. It's a Gospel that teaches that the purpose of the church isn't just maintaining it's own existence, but rather the revolution of the world into the dream of God. It's a Gospel that understands that while morality for a believer is a given, it isn't the point. It's a Gospel that isn't just information, but is something that is embodied by the Body of Christ.
And...they are "getting" it. In ways I never dreamed, it is coming out of their mouths and out in their lives. There is such great hope, because these children are becoming adults. It won't change overnight. It won't change fast enough for my liking. But, if we all bail out and start from scratch, it may not change at all.



Gilbert said...

Amen! It seems everyone either wants to run away to another church or start all over from scratch to make things better. In my opinion that is the easy way out. A few years ago I was at the peak of my frustration with churches of Christ. I was asked if I would ever consider leaving. My response both reassured and shocked this person. I said, "No, I don't plan on leaving. What would that do to change the situation for the churches of Christ? I want to stay and make it better."
Keep working with those youth! It seems we have a whole generation of people who are "getting it" coming up in our churches thanks to people like you.

Jason Retherford said...

Great thoughts on the power and the purpose of the Gospel. I am in youth ministry as well, and the heart of what I am trying to do is to share the Colossal Gospel with my teens. We explore topics and traditions and ask "why"? I think, my kids are beginning to get the big picture. I have noticed that if there will be any change in the church it will come from the bottom up. Keep up what you're doing and God bless.

CL said...


Great post, I am in the big city of Mobile, not too far from you we'll have to get together some time and chat, God bless you as you seek to do his will brother!

Travis said...

"It's a Gospel that understands that while morality for a believer is a given, it isn't the point."

Great quote. I like that.

I, like you and Gilbert, am in Churches of Christ for the long haul. As long as they will have me (if they read my blog it may not be that long) I am here. I am currently going to a pretty conservative African-American COC in Abilene. It is a struggle for us, but I am slowly seeing progress. Bring positive change takes time. I've been told by my professors for years that ministers really only begin to make an influence on a church aftter 5 years or so. Some say after a decade. Regardless of the exact time, the point is made. For the Church to better represent Christ in our culture it will take serious disciples sticking it out in churches that are not everything they dream the church to be. While writing this, I thought back to the history of Israel. For thousands of years God stuck with them instead of starting a new thing with a new nation. I know our futures in ministry will not be easy, but, by the grace of God, perhaps our years of dedication and patience will help mold many people into devoted disciples of Christ.

Thanks Adam for what your thoughts and for your ministry in PC. Palo Alto is blessed to have you.

Danny Ethridge said...

Hello Adam, I was very inspired to see your posting. You are so correct in teaching our youth the "Gospels"! With so much going on around our youth, it is so important for our youth to have the teachings of Jesus Christ written into their hearts! May God continue to bless the youth ministry he has placed in your heart and life. Jesus is Lord!

Donna G said...

I needed to read this today. I too want change and want it now! Thanks for reminding me that it takes time and dedication and that nothing changes overnight. Sometimes it seems that the easy answer is to look for the place that has is right, but if we all did that growth would be thwarted. Thanks again.