This is a question that we all should be asking ourselves especially when there are so many tools available to help with this. It is a matter of understanding the culture we are in, but also with a realization that we aren't an amalgam that can be easily understood just because of what one group exhibits.
Being a Gen-Xer, which seems to be that generation that most have just let fall to the wayside as most materials focus on the Millenials (oh, how they love that....said no millennial ever). The reality is that we are moving into a post-Christian world that does not view the Church like the parents of Baby Boomers did. The church is something that many have been to or heard about, but decided it was not for them and walked away. They saw the infighting, the hypocrisy, and the judgment and determined that the Bible is not true and the people who believe it are anti-Science and out of touch with reality. For some of those that have tried to stay their faith is often compromised and are living a life that, not that long ago, would have been apprehensible to most in the Church.
Barna and Pew find that more and more young adults are identifying less and less with the Christian faith and don't really want anything to do with those that are a part of it. At best they are angry, and at worst they are apathetic. So, what are we, as the Church, to do about it? I'm not talking about the buildings that we go to for worship each week, but all who call themselves followers of Christ?
My greatest passion is the carrying on of the Gospel in the Church and within families. Being a father of six children very close in age and, also, being a pastor, I have witnessed the difficulty of bringing a family to church. I have seen what it is like for a mother to have to manage young children during the service alone as I have sat unable to really do anything. Unfortunately, I have also felt the pain of having my children be a point of contention with parishioners and have had the unkind words directed at me and my wife.
Because I am a pastor, I know that things were sometimes said that would not be said to another parent. I, also, know that because of the shame that some people had about their feelings that they have said and done things not in the open. I have, also, witnessed other families leave never to return because of comments directed at their children that caused a wound. Most of the time, these things are not truly meant to be hurtful and most that engage do so because they have some distance from when they had children. Another reality is, our society has changed, and with it, our way of viewing things and doing things. There are things that would've been tolerated even twenty years ago that are unthinkable now. In all honestly, some of the things that were tolerated, probably shouldn't have been, but some of the stuff that is tolerated today is truly killing our kids.
Our children need the Church and our Church needs our children. It is a mutual relationship and there is no better place where families can find support than the Church. So, that is why I have created this. There are a great many of very good materials out there working on the strengthening of families and the welcoming of families in the Church. Most of these are done by changing how we worship and how Sunday School is done. There are some great things in this, but what about those congregations and those families that desire the structure of liturgy? That is where I hope to offer a voice.
The question is, how do we welcome our children into a liturgical worship service? I believe the elements are already there and in that it can afford a great opportunity to deepen the worship life of all who attend, whether they be young or they be old. I look forward to this journey together! Keep posted for more things to come!