Watching the political debates over the last few weeks, it is apparent to me one thing…American’s do not really know what they want. I take that back, they know what they want but ultimately cannot embolden themselves to support it. A few years ago, President Obama ran a campaign based on the idea of change we can believe in. He inspired hope and the idea that everyone was going to get what they wanted. The poor would catch some breaks, the middle class would be supported, debt would go down, and it would all happen without us having to sacrifice anything. Sounds great, but it is ultimately unrealistic. That is because change is rarely something that doesn’t require some measure of sacrifice and difficulty. Anyone who tells you anything different is trying to sell you a line that you want to hear, not what you need. I have come to realize this even more with this year’s candidates. I listen to Herman Cain and he makes a lot of sense. Now, I am well aware that his tax plan will bring my taxes up. I am ordained and I catch all kind of breaks, but I am ok with paying more. You see I am starting to realize that I my generation has to start stepping to the plate and doing our share. We are graduated, employed, and we cannot be afraid to sacrifice a little to honor the sacrifices of those before us. That’s the criticism of this plan that opponents are offering. It’ll raise your taxes! But it is transparent, easy to understand, and easy to plan around. I may give up a little more cash but I get something I can understand and a new direction we desperately need. It may require a little sacrifice but the end result I think will leave us better than where we are. People don’t want to do that in order to change…we usually just want to hear how we will get it easier and have to pay less…especially my generation.
I believe this logic applies to the church as well. In the church I work at we have talked a lot about this idea of how to reach young families and changes that may need to be made. It leaves us, too often, caught between generations. A younger generation wants to just change everything, the older wants it they way that they have always known it. My church is not the only one…many churches out there struggle with the same things. We want growing churches but also want them the way that we see them rather than the way they need to be for the community and for the future. Sometimes the older generation struggles with this…and I cannot blame them. I think my generation has a lot of great ideas for change, but I also think we just too often present the ideas and expect others to just do them for us. We aren’t willing to do our fair share. We are becoming leaders of the world and of the church and it is time we start making the sacrifices necessary to do that. We need to lovingly understand where the previous generation that worked so hard to build the world we live in and the churches we worship in are coming from. We have to be willing to give them the respect that they deserve and love they should expect from their churches. We also have to be willing to do the leading. We cannot see the change we want without being the change. We cannot just sit back and expect others to do the work we want to see done. Ideas aren’t enough…they must become action. James said faith without action is dead. If we want growing churches, we need to be growing people who grow up and lead. We cannot sit back and allow our faith to fade and churches to perish. We must realize change rarely is easy and rarely does it come without sacrifice…we have to step into the breach and bridge the gap. That is our role and if our churches are going to survive we must be willing to take the lead now. It is estimated that between 3500-4000 churches die each year and not enough are planted to replace them. We must, we have to, step up millennials. We cannot expect a different generation to be the ones to reach our generation. We cannot blame anyone else for the fact that people our age struggle to fit in if we are not the ones on the front line trying to live out the Gospel and be the leaders. Our time is now and our churches need us. Be the change, be the sacrifice, be Christ in the world.