I've had a lot of conversations recently with parents of 20- and 30-somethings. The conversation goes something like this:
"You know, I want you to meet my son. He's 29. He's a Christian and all - he loves Jesus - but he isn't attending church. He's disconnected. He's looking for a place where it will excite him rather than frustrate him to no end. He wants to be a part of a community where he can get plugged in with other people that feel the same way. Do you think Sunday night will be a place where he might feel connected?"
I call these types of Jesus-loving/church-dispising people "Bono Christians." Bono, the lead singer of the band U2, is a believer, but he is vocal about the fact that he has become disillusioned with the Church and doesn't attend any longer. These types of people, in the words of Dan Kimball, "love Jesus but hate the church." [It's a complex issue. I'm not making judgments here as to why this is, just simply making the point that its pervasive. Maybe you feel this way right now and are resonating with these words. If you don't grasp why or how this could be, I won't go into it now, but follow me on this one.]
There are lots of Bono Christian out there. More than most of us think. It's my prayer that Bono Christians [and others far from the faith] will find a place in this new faith community we're starting in the fall that's willing to re-think what and why and how a community of faith remains attentive to God. I think they will...resonate with what we are doing [sorry...I just had to do it].
If you ever wonder if there is a need for this type of ministry keep your eyes and ears open and see if you know a Bono Christian.
Listen for these types of conversations.
Or look around in your church (wherever that may be) on a Sunday morning and estimate what percentage of people under 35 are in attendance. Ask yourself what the median age is of the church you attend. Ask yourself, 'If something doesn't change, what will happen in the future of my church? In twenty years who will be the attendees, the volunteers, the elders, the staff, the senior pastor?'
Or just ask a handful of 50-something parents about the faith journey of their adult child.
It seems these Bono Christians still haven't found what they're looking for...