Recently, Buzzfeed released an article entitled “27 Sure Signs You Grew Up Evangelical.” I can identify with all 27. I know there are other people who can’t identify with even one, but as I was reminded about Psalty and Adventures in Odyssey, I was reminded of one of the Psalty tapes I listened to growing up. There was an album in which the Psalty kids went to look for Kids9 Praise.
I know it sounds unusual, but I was thinking about this song and what was missing churches. As a part of Gardner-Webb’s Pastor School, I polled local pastors and asked what demographic was most lacking or missing from their congregations. Here are the results:
I know this isn’t the case for every church and for some churches this is the highest demographic, but this stops me in my tracks. My age group is the least active in church for these local pastors. In some ways, I feel guilty because I was missing from the church for a period of time. I couldn’t find my place. I couldn’t find myself, but when I answered the call to ministry, things started to become more clear.
I couldn’t find myself because there weren’t women my age leading in worship in the churches I visited. I couldn’t find myself in the church. I do not believe that the church should cater to what people or culture desires, but there is truth to being able to find yourself or someone like you in a church congregation. When you are able to journey with people who are in the same phase of life as you are, your learning and growing in faith becomes deeper. You are reminded that you are not alone. You are reminded that the world is not against you. You are reminded that there is hope.
That is powerful. That is what Jesus did. He walked with people and perhaps more like him that we would like to admit. The disciples he gathered were outsiders and so was Jesus for his teachings for inviting the stranger to the table. Can our churches say the same?