What's Outside Your Comfort Zone?
Since my last blog, I had been thinking about the issue I brought up. A funny thing happened; when I was flipping through my personal email inbox, I came across an article within our Presbytery's newsletter. This was an article which interviewed the author Haydn Shaw. Haydn Shaw recently wrote the book Generational IQ: Christianity Isn't Dying, Millennials Aren't the Problem, and the Future is Bright. According to the interview, it touches on the challenges of the changing demographics within the church. More precisely, it discusses how to appeal and to draw Millennials to the church. I have to admit, I have not read this book yet, it's in my cart in Amazon. But, the interview really intrigued me.
The most interesting part of the interview was the part where the author was discussing why he was optimistic about the future of the church. His plan was not easy and required a change in how we do things in our church. Mr. Shaw had done research on the millennial generation. Part of his research asked Millennials several questions about themselves and their desires. Interestingly enough, Mr. Shaw found out that one of the bigger desires of Millennials is to be involved with older generations in a mentoring relationship. It was important to have a relationship with an older adult other than family members. What Millennials wanted is to be able to "talk" or have a conversation with this mentor. Mr. Shaw found out that not only did they want advice, the Millennials also wanted to listen to the older person's stories and experiences.
Fortunately for the church, the one resource that the church is plentiful in, is older individuals who could be this type of mentor. I have had the privilege and joy of these types of relationships with many of you within our church. Mr. Shaw indicated that the challenge is connecting our resources with the people who desire them the most. Mr. Shaw made a point that the church and its members must learn to communicate in a manner that Millennials are comfortable with. Which could entail texting.
There are a lot of people who want nothing to do with texting. For some of us, it is a different language than what we are comfortable with. Learning new ways of communication requires us to step outside of our comfort zone. Just ask my wife about how receptive I am about stepping outside of my comfort zone. However, I have learned that real growth only occurs outside our comfort zones. God knows this and has given us help with stepping outside our comfort zone with the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Pentecost is when the Holy Spirit was gifted to us. During Pentecost, the Holy Spirit gifted us the ability to talk in different languages. Essentially, God gave us the ability to go out to different lands and cultures to spread the word of God. The Holy Spirit is still with us today. I believe the Holy Spirit can help us by teaching us to talk by texting, using social platforms and other means of communication outside our comfort zone. It is a way our church can answer a growing need of the millennial generation.
I am not certain on where the Holy Spirit is leading us. However, this may be one of many options and plans for our church to answer the call of Jesus.