Monday, August 1, 2011

Fleeing Facebook

Here is an article written by my brother-in-law, Kevin Norcross, who is a pastor at North Park Community Church in London, Ontario.

Teenagers are fleeing facebook … will they flock to the church?

I read an article that was explaining how teenagers are fleeing Facebook (1). One line in the article was “there are too many chaperones at this party.” Facebook began with university students and then teenagers and now their grandparents commenting on photos. I also listened to an interview with Paul Robertson who was explaining how social media has made it difficult for youth to have legitimate face-to-face relationships because they are so used to the online interactions that they have with their friends (2). I am not entirely convinced that Facebook will shut down because there are no teens on it, or that teens are totally incapable of having a conversation with another human being, but it has caused me to think. My prayer is and always has been, that the youth would flock to the church and that they would not be disappointed with what they find there. I pray that they would be able to find relationship with Jesus Christ, relationship with the body of Christ, and that they would discover the church to be a place that embraces them and challenges them boldly with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Relationship with Jesus

In Genesis 33, we learn that when Moses went into the “tent of meeting” and had a face-to-face encounter with God, he was changed forever. As teenagers enter our churches, they need to encounter Jesus wherever they look. They need to see His glory revealed through our worship. They need to see His character revealed through our people. They need to see the truth about Jesus Christ through the biblical teaching that is being presented. They need to see the His holiness and be convicted of their sin and recognize their need of a Savior through the presence of the Holy Spirit in our meetings. They need to see His love and compassion and grace lived out through each one of us. We cannot manufacture or manipulate any of this, but we need to cry out to God and allow Him to form us and make us into the church that represents Him well. He will help us to become a church that reveals Jesus Christ to those whom we interact with, and through that they can a find face-to-face relationship with Jesus Christ.

Relationship with the Bride of Christ

There is a desire among the youth culture for authentic relationships, and I believe that they can find that refreshing relationship through Jesus Christ and His Bride the church. I have heard many times over my years of youth ministry: “how can we compete with what the world has to offer?” Well, the bottom line is that we can’t and the refreshing thing is that we do not need to. We have the opportunity to introduce these “relationship hungry” students to Jesus Christ and invite them to be a part of a group of people who love and care for each other through the biblical model of the church. What an incredible opportunity that we have as leaders to be available to be used by God in this way. We have the opportunity to represent Christ well and build relationship with these youth and mentor them, pray for them, support them, cry with them, rejoice with them, teach them and they will be able to find that deep, authentic and biblical relationship with other people that their heart longs for (Romans 12:9-21). We have this incredible opportunity to serve Christ and represent Him well and to be the Church that He has called us to be, and to be a place where these youth can flock to and find what they are looking for.

My Prayer: “Dear God, may the youth of this city and nation who are broken and hurting find what they are looking for as they encounter your church. Please help your church to represent you well, and please let these youth flock to the church in droves – Amen.”

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