07 March, 2009

So You Want to Go Back to Yesterday

Have you ever noticed how people tend to romanticize the past? When they think about or talk about the past, everything always seems so great... and they often want to go back and do it again. We hear it all the time in the church world. People talk about the "glory days" and are always want to go back to what they did "back in the day." I find it particularly funny that my generation has always criticized the "older" folks for this, but if we'd be honest enough to open our eyes and ears, we are doing the same thing ourselves. We want to do what we saw work 20 years ago, or 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. It's natural, because there were good times and we want to do it again. But we need to stop looking back and see what God is trying to do in our lives today. We so often hinder what God is trying to do today because we are wanting to relive want was enjoyable, what God was doing then. But we've moved on. We are in a new time, a new place and what worked then is not necessarily the answer. We must seek God for what he is doing today. And besides... I really question were things as great as we thought they were anyway?

A few days ago I was talking with a friend from my own youth who was in our youth group. He was telling me how he wanted so bad for the youth choir to start up again, and do the carnivals and various other things we did back then. He talked about how powerful it was and how life-transforming it was and that today's youth at our old church need to experience what we did. I listened to him go on for over 20 minutes, and I have to admit, the trip down memory lane was fun. But when he finished, I asked him; "Do you really think it was THAT powerful?" He could not believe what I asked him. Then I said, "How many of that youth group are in church today?" We sat and counted up and of more than 70 that we could come up with who were in that group at one time or another, less than 20 are serving Christ today. So the question is not whether or not we had a lot of fun, but was it really "powerful"? Was it life-transforming. Somewhere, I believe we missed it. And I'm convinced it is not a phenomenon that only took place in my church, but it is repeated over and over and over in churches. I've witnessed this over and over. Someone is always wanting to do "what we used to do." Ever wonder why so many churches change youth pastors every 2 to 4 years? I believe it is because if they do not, they are in danger of falling into the "rinse and repeat" habit. You CANNOT do God's work with a "rinse and repeat" method of operation. We must stay fresh, stay in tune with the voice of the Holy Spirit and what He is wanting us to do today.

The danger is there. We fall prey to it so easily. We must guard ourselves of this and of trying to push our young folks down the same path we walked. Do we really understand that to go down the same path, it means we have to back track and take this generation back to where we were, instead of giving to them the benefit of our experience and knowledge and helping them to soar further than we ever did. Let's be honest, it really is about our wanting to relive our experiences more than anything; isn't it? I want to take the shackles off of this generation, point them in the right direction and let them soar, rather than trying to force them into the same things we did.

1 comment:

Phil Hoover, Chicago said...

We never remember things as they "really were." We either romanticize the past...seeing through very "rosy glasses" or we shreik in terror--and things were not really all that bad, if the truth were told.

Great post, Darrell.