Thursday, July 17, 2008

a new message...

"You're not promised tomorrow"

So many youth events I've gone to (and some "adult" services too), and taken teens to, present evangelistic "get saved now" messages, based on that premise. It's true, in a world of violence and hate, and random acts of ignorance and greed....and just accidents happening, any of us is a candidate for the grave right now.

But I'm not sure this approach reaches everyone. Let alone, teenagers who pretty much view themselves as invincible already. Sure, there may be a few who have had parents/loved ones/schoolmates pass on, and so have a better grip on our mortality. A few who are wise beyond their years. But for the most part, you'd have a hard time convincing Johnny-enjoy-today that tomorrow might not come.

And even if we could....isn't this approach simply advertising to teenagers, and to the world, that the main reason to participate in what God is doing comes from a fear of dying?

What if there was something better?

What if there was a reason to live a life seeking God's _____ , even if you do live through tomorrow?

I know we believe there is...otherwise those of us who have been journeying in that direction would be excited about the prospect of dying at any given moment. So if we're honestly so excited about living for God, and building towards His Kingdom with as many tomorrows as we can get...why does our main offer to teens focus so much on "in case you die tomorrow"?

In fact, thinking about it...it's very similar to messages I've heard given at rescue mission type settings too. It may even come from a pure intention. "We don't know for sure if this teenager/person off the street may come back again, so let's do everything we can to 'get em saved' tonight." But I'm not sure if I agree with that approach.

It's not like if 20 people came up to the altar, and signed the "I accept Jesus" line on a slip of paper, we could sit back and say "whew, that was close...glad that's done".

I think a key to the survival of young adult and adult ministries (teens who didn't "die tomorrow"), will be in responding a bit better to this issue. After all, God offers us SO MUCH MORE than simply a nice place to retire after we die. Maybe we should tell someone that.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Great observations, and I wholeheartedly agree. I would hope that our youth (heck, all Christians) would be as passionate about the way of Christ even if we never mentioned any hope of an afterlife. I think we need to encourage youth to Christianity as primarily being about a relationship with God through Christ in the here-and-now and what it means to live the relationship in our daily lives.