Christian Millennials: It’s the Thought that Counts?

I love my generation.

I really do.

There’s not doubt we are part of an exciting time.  Technology does things our parents only saw in the movies.  We have been the first generation to grow up with things like social media, cellphones and the world wide web.  My generation helped start organizations like kickstarter which let’s people give money to projects they want to see become a reality.  A few of us founded some world changing charities, some have become pastors to usher in the next generation of the Church and others still are on the cutting edge of medical health and sciences.

But…

And there’s always a but.

What about the majority of us?

Let’s face it, every generation has their few stars who rise to the top and do amazing things.  But what about the rest of us? .  What are we supposed to do?  Or maybe a better question to ask is are we fooling ourselves?
You see I know the my generation is aware of the world’s problems. I know if I ask my friends the question ‘what is wrong with the world’ that they can give me answers.  But what are we doing about it?

You know what I think we are doing about it?
We are “liking” it on facebook and patting ourselves on the back for it.  We dump water on our head, put a big red X on our wrist, we like pages for certain causes and we make sure we tell everyone on our social media accounts that today is national “insert major cause here” day.

But is this helping?

I suppose on a pure awareness level that doing things like that helps to raise “awareness” of that issue.  But if it stops there, then we’ve really missed the mark especially when the Jesus we follow lived a life of hands on ministry.

You see for the all the good my generation has done, I see one glaring flaw.

We.Are.Selfish

Now humans are in general selfish there’s no doubt about it but thanks to a materialistic culture in thought and a prosperous culture in reality my generation has, in many ways never had it easier, and still demands to do things our way with very little room to listen to the generations who have come before us.

We’ve fled the church by the hundreds of thousands

We think we know it all and when we disagreed, we took the easy way out and left our faith institutions instead of doing our best to work together to be co-workers in the Kingdom of God

We’ve decried the faith of our fathers for not being authentic enough while making our own faith up by only taking parts of the Bible we’ve deemed radical and organic.  We’ve tossed the baby out with the bathwater.
And I’m one of them.  I’ve made these mistakes.  I left the Church angry and frustrated.  Many times my reasons were valid but my reactions we were anything but.

Jesus prays to the Father that we are one Church and I’m afraid to admit that at times, I’ve contributed to the very thing that frustrated me.  Division and drawing lines in the sand that hinder the spread of the Gospel, not grow it.

For my generation to start changing our cultures, we need to be proactive participants and not annoying bystanders.  What good is it to point out all of the problems with the world if we won’t get in the mud and start working on solutions together?

We can rant on Facebook, we can write blogs about the problems of the world (pun intended) and we can walk around thinking we know better.  But if we aren’t willing to actually move and take action then we are nothing but the people we criticized in previous generations.

As long as we keep thinking the world revolves around us and our rights and our wants and our dreams I can assure you we won’t see much change.  Jesus tells us that if we want to find our life we must first lose it.  James tells us that true religion is to look after the widow and the orphan (AKA – Not looking after yourself).  The disciples gave up their entire lives so the gospel would be spread to the ends of the earth.  Many of them lost their lives because of it but Paul counted it joy because unlike our self-centered culture, Paul knew that what mattered wasn’t what he did for himself, but the impact he made on people around him to spread the good news of the gospel.

We (millennials) might have these grandiose thoughts about how to change the world but if we don’t put the work in to make those ideas a reality then they are useless to everyone except ourselves.  We trick ourselves into thinking that if we are aware of an issue and we stand against it in our hearts then we’ve done our moral Christian duty by publicly saying “I’m against this!” or “I’m for that”.  I promise your words although well intended do very little to change the status quo,

When it comes to our faith the words we say are only the beginning. If there is no tangible actions behind our words than our faith is pretty much useless as James tells us.

So where do you start? When faced with the world’s problems it can get pretty overwhelming pretty fast.  Start with little things in your life that you can do to start changing things you know that are harmful to yourself, other people, or the environment.

My girlfriend recently has decided to cut back on her use of disposable items such as plast silverware, straws, cups plates and bags.  She decided that she didn’t want to add to the problem of throwing away items that the earth can’t break down and reuse.   A simple lifestyle change that over time will help to reduce the amount of waste we bury underground.

You want to help the generation coming up behind you? Then find a place you can volunteer to start being a role model

You want to feed the homeless? Then volunteer at a shelter and be the hands and feet of Jesus

You want to fight Human Trafficking? Then get in touch with an organization and see how you can help.

Don’t just dump water on your head, don’t just draw a big red X and throw in on social media so people can admire your good work.  Get in the dirt with us and start impacting people.

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Let’s Stop the Sexual Exploitation of Women….Unless We Like It!

Have you’ve seen the newest Nicki Minaj video for her new single out Anaconda? I’m not going to talk about the musical trash the music industry consistently puts out on this post.  I could go on and on…and on….and on…about that.  No, this post is about something entirely different.  It’s about the way our culture views sexual exploitation and the hypocritical stance so many people (coughcoughCHRISTIANScoughcough) take on this issue.

 

 

I first heard about this video particularly making waves because of how explicit the video itself is.  The video mainly consists of scantily clad women shaking their butts at a camera with a lap dance or two thrown in.  I personally saw the first 30 seconds before I turned it off.  The video is arguably soft core pornography and the lyrics that accompany it could probably be found in an erotic novel.

 

Now to be clear, I’m not really shocked about the video.  I mean it’s the hyper-sexulized-music-industry-machine.  It’s always been pushing the limit on what they can show to the public without being banned.  Last year we got to witness Miley Cyrus swinging on a wrecking ball naked while seductively licking a sledgehammer (her video by the way won video of the year recently) so I’m not exactly shocked that a music video involving Nicki Minaj close to naked and twerking her butt came out for public viewing.

 

What is so surprising to me is the amount of Christians in particular female Christians who apparently think that the video is hilarious and funny and the song is “so catchy”.  These are some of the same girls mind you, that I see posting about stopping the sexual exploitation of women and I just can’t help but look at this and ask what am I missing here?

I mean as Christians this is the type of stuff that we should be standing against.  We stand against the exploitation of women for money right?  We should be standing against women selling their bodies for fame or for approval, not passing it around like a hot potato on Facebook.   How is it that we as Christians will denounce pornography, we will denounce human trafficking, but we laugh and share a video like Anaconda? It honestly makes me angry.

 

We love to post about our new moral stances and demand justice…unless we like it.  I mean sure, we say pornography is wrong…but studies show that most of us reading this are either addicted to it or have seen it as some point.  Sure we say that women should respect their bodies and men have no right to take advantage of them (rightfully so)….but then we share a video like Anaconda…I mean really? So because it’s a celebrity that suddenly makes it ok? Because it’s a music super star (I use the music part here loosely, it’s ok? It’s ok that Nicki is close to naked with the camera zoomed in on her butt while she gives a guy a lap dance because she’s…popular?

 

I wonder what Jesus would say to Nicki if they were in a room together.  I think Jesus would tell Nicki how much he loved her, and how much it hurt him to see Nicki use her body the way she does because it was never designed to be used that way.  I think Jesus would tell Nicki “to go and sin no more” and to join in on the radical gospel movement because there is plenty of room at the table for her.  I doubt Jesus would share that video with the disciples and say “Omg have you seen this yet? Look at how she dances!”.

 

When we claim publicly (especially on Facebook) to be followers of Jesus, and then share videos like that, we shoot ourselves in the foot and contribute to the mindset so many people have of Christians; that we are hypocritical.

 

My generation has brought so much good attention to the hyper-sexualized world we live in and I’m grateful for it.  More and more people are exposing toxic industries like the pornography industry and the sex trafficking industry.  But let’s not fight against one side of hyper-sexulation while embracing another.  

 

Jesus calls us to love people and to call them to a different way a living. One of freedom, out of bondage and into a life of fullness.  When we promote and view videos like Nicki’s we give our stamp of approval and tighten the chains around her arms instead of showing her how to break them.

If you like this post then share it!

 

-TW

 

 

 

 

#icebucketchallenge #alsicebucketchallenge #strikeoutals

So, if you have logged onto social media in the past several weeks you have seen copious amounts of videos of EVERYONE dumping buckets of water on their head.  By now, we all realize that this is about raising awareness of ALS and promoting donations to ALS research.

I am certainly glad that this horrible disease is getting so much attention as it is 100% fatal with no cure.  However, as Christians we don’t just follow social trends and go along with the crowd.  I have been challenged to do this multiple times at this point and have politely declined and given my reasons for abstaining.  Here are some of them:

  1. The ALS Association is an organization that supports and performs embryonic stem cell research. While you can elect that your donation dollars not be spent to fund embryonic stem cell research (and the major study going on now is funded by a particular donor interested in such research) ALSA does state that it will not hinder future research of this type.
  2. Social gratification. I can’t speak for anyone else but when I was first challenged my first thought was “oh man let’s do something big so people will notice.”  The whole reason it is viral is because it plays into the instant social gratification veiled as altruism.
  3. Dumping 5+ gallons of clean, fresh, ice water on your head is degrading to countries and people who don’t have even a single glass of clean drinking water. Our water is so abundant and free that we don’t think twice about dumping it on our heads.  Now don’t get me wrong, we also water our lawns and wash our cars (while most people don’t even own a car or have a lawn).  But I don’t think we should be going around making a show of it either.

As a Christian, my giving should never be fueled by emotions.  Commercials can be very good at getting us to feel a certain way.  Marketing is all about stirring emotions to drive an end goal.  To me, my donations or charity should be done in accordance with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  It is HIS money after all, right?  Again, I’m not saying that all of this money going to ALS research is a bad thing but I wonder how many Christians have donated to a cause simply because of a challenge without being burdened by God that they should give God’s money to ALSA (or some other foundation/organization).  This isn’t just applying to ALS but to every donation I make.  Everything I give should be in accordance with what God wants me to do and where God wants me to donate (whether it is money or time).  My challenge to you is not to follow a social trend and make donations to the popular place but to pray and be open about what God has you to do.  For me, I wasn’t lead to give to ALS research for the reasons I listed in this post.

I will tell you about a charity that I do support and that God has laid on my heart.

Charity: Water

I’m not seeking to challenge anyone into giving.  I had originally included a paragraph about life in a third world country but realized that wasn’t appropriate.  Pray about it.  I know some of our readers do regularly give to charities that they feel strongly about.  I personally have been burdened by resources in other countries and love that charity: water gives 100% of donation dollars to the projects (not administrative costs).  Research charity: water and if this is something you want to support click the link below!

https://my.charitywater.org/coffee-theology-jesus

As a side note: for those that are burdened about ALS, I did find an alternative place to ALSA that conducts biblically ethical research:
http://www.jp2mri.org/capital-campaign.htm

Thanks for reading!  As always if you have any comments please let us know!

Rob

Bursting the Christian Marriage Bubble

So as amazed as we all are that Tim has pulled the wool over some girls eyes long enough to maintain some sort of steady relationship…. I got a girl to say “I do.” Perhaps many of you do not know me but that’s ok, you can agree along with the rest of us that God can do anything. Now saying that, I appreciated Tim’s last blog about bursting the ideals and assumptions we have going into a relationship. I wanted to expand on it a bit and talk about marriage. Now, I got married on Sept 1, 2012 so I am certainly no expert on the subject and wouldn’t pretend to be. Hopefully some of these things you will be able to identify with and will help you in the future. If you have any more please share them as marriage doesn’t get any easier as you go.

Many of Tim’s list of 5 applies to marriage as well so I won’t try to repeat anything he has already stated so well. But here is another list (of 6) that I have learned.

1. Sex isn’t as great as you might think
You may be lifting an eyebrow (especially those who are married and enjoying a healthy sex life) and my pre-marriage self is wondering “what on earth can you mean?” However, I will stick to this one. Don’t get me wrong, sex is amazing and wonderful (in the confines of marriage) but it is not what will hold your marriage together. Your marriage will determine the enjoyment of the benefits. I can go back a few short years when I couldn’t wait for my honeymoon. I couldn’t wait to be married so I could do “marriage things.” That is what is pounded into our minds right? “The Bible says that sex is for marriage and marriage only!” While I agree with the statement the constant reminder of the marriage rights started to warp my mind on what it is actually for. I started to want the marriage more for the benefits it came with. Is that any reason to get married? I’ll answer for you. Definitely not! One theory I have for the reason that the divorce rate is higher among Christians is because of sex. Kids are getting married to enjoy the benefits of marriage and not because they are ready to submit themselves to one another and serve God together. Let me tell you, if sex is your goal in marriage, you will be highly disappointed. Some nights you may just not be in the mood. Does that mean your marriage is failing and something is wrong? No, but if that is your main focus… things may start to crumble when this begins to happen.
Sex in its correct context, the physical, emotional, and spiritual bonding of two people is beautiful and brings two people who already are in love even closer. The bonds created in sex are inexplicable and why it is meant for marriage. It is so much more than just a physical act. But, it is not a reason for marriage. I won’t take the time to go deeper into this one but I think you get the idea. Have a correct perspective of sex in marriage. Focus on the relationship not the benefits of it and the benefits will be even better.

2. You are Selfish –
When people ask me what is the top thing I’ve learned about marriage since the wedding day I always say the same thing. I’ve learned exactly how selfish I am. This is one of those things that you just can’t prepare for. Dating begins this process but when the wedding vows are done and over you realize how much you missed. When I was single I ate what I wanted for dinner, I went where I wanted to go, and spent money where I wanted to spend it. This all changed once I got a ring on my finger and I’m now with this other person every day and every night. A quick example. The other night Julia was working late and mentioned she wanted a salad for dinner. So as I get home from work and I’m just doing a few things around the house I finally decide to order Chinese food. The Chinese food arrives and not 10 mins later Julia walks in the door with this look on her face “YESSSSSS!!!!! CHINESE FOOD” and I right them realized that I probably should have asked her if she wanted anything. Oops. It’s simple and was mostly harmless but it showed that I’m still working on constantly being aware that it’s not just “every man for himself” any more. I’ve got a wife that I have to consider into everything (if I want to have a solid Christian marriage that is). Should I really buy that new ______ (fill in the blank) without consulting her or should I really be hanging out with this group of people right now? Every decision should get input from all parties involved.

3. Your actions affect another
This is one I’m constantly struggling with and learning to deal with. One of the most terrifying moments just before the wedding day was when it was impressed on my mind the responsibility I was taking on. I had learned in the months leading up to us starting to date that I had a lot of things God wanted to see changed in me. He is still changing and working with me. But now, its not just me that my actions and decisions affect but my wife as well. I am held accountable to how our marriage is reflecting upon God. I am held accountable (to an extent) for the spiritual wellbeing of my family. Being “the head of the household” doesn’t mean I make all the decisions. It means that I have the God given responsibility. It means I am taking initiative to lead our family in a path of spiritual growth and development and we can foster that type of activity. It is definitely a team effort but I have that responsibility. The thought of that terrified me until I also realized that God didn’t wan to see me fail and would be with me every step of the way, in success and failure. But it is not just leading. It is every aspect of life.
How I talk to certain people affects not just me but Julia. Where I go does not just affect me but Julia too. Where I work, what we do with our money our time, etc. Everything is affecting both of us. It is an enormous responsibility that should not be taken lightly.

4. Time will not slow down
While Julia and I were engaged we were under this delusion that we would have so much more time when we are finally married. We won’t have to spend so much time in the car driving to one another. We won’t have to say goodbye and goodnight every day. We will just be able to get so much more done. Trust me when I say… life sped up after marriage. It was like someone kicked us into the next gear and time started to go faster than before. The days and weeks fly by and before you know it a year is over. Time will not slow down. My advice to you? Start good habits early in life. Are you single? Start spending time with God as much as you can. You will never have time alone like you have right now. Are you dating/engaged? Spend time with God alone… and together! You won’t believe how crammed full your life will get as the years pass on. The world, the flesh, and the devil will try to squeeze every last second out of you and keep you from that precious time with God. But, if you developed those habits earlier (say when you were single) it will be easier to maintain. Then when you get married you are used to spending time in the scriptures and praying together. Let me tell you… that doesn’t happen overnight. It is a “chore” and has to constantly be readdressed. You will never be able to spend enough time together with The Lord. Get in the routine as early as possible. But always remember it is never too late to start :)
As life goes on it will only get busier… kids, activities, school, work, etc. Everything will pile on. Don’t let life separate you from the one who gave it to you.

5. Be content with where God has you now
I will word this one carefully and lovingly because I know we are struggling with this right now. As humans we always want to see what is coming next and get going to the next stage. While growing up we couldn’t wait to be a teenager. Then we couldn’t wait to go off to college. Then we couldn’t wait to start our career. Then we couldn’t wait to get married. On and on the list goes (in whatever order). But I can speak for myself that I was always ready for the next step. ESPECIALLY when EVERYONE around me was crossing into that next step. I felt left out. I knew God gave me the desires of my heart for a reason but I didn’t want them if they couldn’t be satisfied. God’s timing however was perfect and was worth waiting for. If I would have settled for something earlier I would not be as blessed as I am now. God gave to me the perfect girl for me at the perfect time. But I want the next step! This is a constant struggle to be content with where we are now and with what God is doing with us now. God is never not working with us. God is never just asking us to sit and do nothing. Even “waiting” implies preparing. Please refer to this post on waiting for more of an explanation. God knows what He is doing and we have to learn to submit our wills, our plans, our desires, and everything to Him. He made you with your desires. Even if they don’t make sense right now, or they frustrate you, or they make you lay awake at night in tears. God gave them to you. He made you and He didn’t make a mistake. Trust that He will satisfy the desires of your heart in His time and His own way. Easier said than done, especially in a “now” society. Whatever you want you should go get. That isn’t how God works. Rely on Him and be content with where you are now and what you’re doing for Him now. The next step will come at the best time.

6. Remember to date your spouse
One last thing. Dating your spouse. I guess this could be thrown up into number 4 with time constraints but that isn’t the only thing here. Dating your spouse is about learning about them, spending time them, and generally showing interest in them. Flirting in marriage is the best thing you can do. Let your spouse know that just because you both are wearing rings doesn’t mean you don’t still like to flirt with each other and have fun. Marriage is stressful, hard work, and sometimes you just want to throw in the towel. So pick a night and show your spouse that they still have your attention and you are still attracted to them. I will never stop learning about Julia. There will never come a time where I will be a “Julia expert.” This is a life long commitment and dating your spouse is a great way to keep everything going.

As I stated at the beginning, a lot of what Tim said about dating applies to marriage as well. Friendship or perceived romance or lack of butterflies. Let me tell you in marriage there are days that there are no butterflies in my stomach because they’ve been eaten by vipers haha. But love is a choice and every day I must chose to love my wife. I chose to put her before me and do anything I can to make sure I am being a benefit to her. That is not easy and things get rough. A strong marriage grounded on the right things will always prevail as marriage is ultimately a picture of Christ and His Church. God would never bring two people together and want them to fail. God is for marriage. Hopefully these few basic points help you in some way.

Rob

Wedding

The Social Dilemma Part 2

So as Tim stated in his post last week… we are touching on some of the pitfalls of the social media driven world.  Again, I would like to state that we love social media.  In fact, if you are reading this post… it is a form of social media.  We looked at the validation search last week and want to take a look at “intimate moments” this week.

Missed Part 1?  Check it out here: Part 1

The more I scour the various platforms of social media the more I am confronted with the simple fact of their success.  Social media has reached deep into the human psyche and struck a chord for acceptance, and validation.  Tim aptly explained that this search for acceptance and validation is because we haven’t found it in our Creator (with whom we have already been accepted and loved).  If we don’t seek for it and find it in our Creator we will pursue it elsewhere and always come up empty.  However, I wanted to look at not our search for validation but the loss of distinction between public and personal information.

The rest of the world is breaking into our most intimate moments.  Walk through a restaurant and notice how many families are not talking but all scrolling through their phones.  See how many dates are inundated with pictures/tweets of food, ticket stubs, and selfies.  At the next wedding you attend try to count the amount of times someone pulls out their phone to get the next Instagram photo captured for posting.  These intimate moments are being destroyed because of our addiction to social media.  Family time around the table used to entail discussing the latest news of the day and enjoying time as a family, now it is time to catch up on the world.  Dates used to be the method of discovering if the person across the table or next to you at the concert was the person you wanted to spend your life with, now it is the method to gain social popularity.  Weddings used to be a celebration of love when we show our support in this beautiful union of two people, now it is the springboard for “likes” and “follows.”  I assure you that your family would rather have you present at dinner than see you posted a picture of your plate with the hashtags “#homecooking #loveyoumom #poorcollegekid #nomoreramen.”  I promise that your date would rather spend time talking to you and enjoying the date then see some status about how good your seats are or where you are eating.  And I can absolutely guarantee that the couple that invited you to their wedding would much rather you enjoy it with your phone in your pocket and your eyes on them.  If social fame is what you are after then the sacrifice will be much greater than you want to give.  As those precious moments slip by you will wish that you everything back.

Another problem I have been noticing was more apparent than ever last Friday.  Yes, February 14th.  Better known as Valentine’s Day.  Scroll through any social media news feed that day and you will see a bunch of posts that you will wonder why they are online instead of written in some card.  Part of it goes back to what Tim wrote last week… we want to be noticed, we want to be validated, and we want to show off our lives.  I am thrilled that people love their significant other but those are moments and things that should be shared between those two people only.  Stop bringing the world into our private lives!  I’ve had to catch myself on multiple occasions from spreading something that was private.  From inviting people into my intimate moments that had no business being there.  The line has all but been erased between public and private; between universal and intimate.

Push the social media back out of your private life and enjoy those moments.  No tweet, vine, post, or picture will ever compare to the quality time spent in the moments you will cherish.  Tell your significant other to their face how much they mean to you and it will mean much more than an eloquently worded post.  Sit down and discuss life with friends and family around the table and you’ll never miss what the social world is doing around you.  Enjoy your life and those you have in it face to face instead of screen to screen.

The Social Media Dilemma: Part One

I LOVE social media. I really do.

I use it daily, I use it to connect with old friends, see what my friends who are traveling are up to, I use it to promote this blog, use it to share my opinions on things, and I use it to keep in touch with people I don’t see often. Social media (especially Facebook) sure has its perks.

But, like any good thing, the abuse of it can lead to a major problem. Social media is not immune to its own problems….and it has quite a few when it is used to an extreme.

In the next two posts, Rob and I are going to be touching on the two big problems we see with social media when we begin to let it creep in to areas it really shouldn’t be. I (Tim) will be taking part one, and Rob will be taking part two. Onward to part 1.

What do I think is one of the biggest dangers of Facebook? The dreaded ‘like’ button. This little button says so much more than the word itself. This word ‘like’ also says approval, validation, popularity, cool, and pretty much any other word designed to inflate the self. When you get 30 likes on a status you can’t help but think “wow, I must be a popular guy”. You know how I know people think that? Because I think that.

The shift in our culture over the past decade regarding where we seek popularity has been immense. Specifically related to where and how we seek validation and approval. We used to seek most of our approval from actual human beings. These could include our peers, parents, immediate family, co-workers, or fans. But over the years we’ve shifted from people to digitized words and symbols. Now, we get our validation from how many people retweet our tweet, how many people ‘like’ our opinions, how many people share our photo, blog post (whoops), or self-made meme (so far no luck). We now view ourselves more highly when social media views us more highly.

Here’s the thing though, God has already approved of us. Yes, the one who designed every atom in our body, who knows us better than we know ourselves, has already approved us and validates us as lovely, brave and worth loving. The fact that Christ died on the cross to save a dying world from their own sin shows us that he approves of us. So much that He wants to set us up as co-heirs with His Son!

If we don’t find our approval from our Creator we will always be seeking our validation from somewhere else. For some it might not necessarily be social media, but for most that is where we seek it.

It’s a dead end.

A black hole.

And it’s not authentic.

It’s like eating junk food.

When we use social media as a validation tool, we essentially tell God that what he already says about us is not true. When we seek unhealthy approval from people, we become a slave to the cycle of thinking “man I hope people like this”.

God didn’t design us to live enslaved to other people and what they think of us, He designed us to live in freedom of who he says we already are.

Social media can be a great tool. In fact, you most likely found this post through Facebook or some other form of it. But when we use it to validate us as humans, as worthy, it falls short. Until you find it in the one who designed you, it will be an empty lifelong pursuit.

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The Church Friend Zone (Breaking Out)

Remember when you were in the friend zone?

For the married crowd let me refresh your memory on what the friend zone is.

The friend zone is when you like someone more than just friends, but they don’t see you the same way so they put you in what’s called the friend zone. It pretty much means that they will never see you as more than a friend and there’s nothing you can do about it. They simply don’t see you the same way that you see them. For men, those three words bring up feelings of impending doom, emotional death, and absolute helplessness.

The friend zone is a barrier put up between you and the other person that says “you can come this far into my life, but no farther then this boundary I put up”.

So what happens when we Church zone people? I’m glad you asked.

The Church zone is like the friend zone only for Church people. Essentially, it’s a barrier we put up between us and other fellow Church members that says we can be friends up to a point. That we can be friends at Church events (like Sunday morning, maybe small group, and the yearly Super Bowl party) and that’s about as far as our relationship will go. When we church zone people we don’t see them as friends that we do life with, we see them as church folks that we see once a week or at other church events.

I know when I’m breaking out of the church zone with Church people when they call me just to hangout, to maybe see a movie, to kick back at the house and figure out something to do. This is when I know I’m not just a fellow church member, but now I’m a friend. Now I ‘m someone they see as a part of their entire life, not just their “church life”.

This is incredibly frustrating for me because the big movement in Church these past few years has been a (rightful) focus on community and relationships. The problem is that we are so used to planning events and church functions that we have forgotten how to be friends again.We are afraid that if people from Church just hangout without an agenda that we somehow didn’t do it right. This is a dangerous mindset because when we forget how to be…friends, we then miss the whole point of holistic Church life.

Listen, if people in the Church are agreeing that Church is not a place you go to it’s a life you live, then we need to smash through this wall in our heads that we put up of spending 90% of our time with fellow Church members at specific Church designated events. We must de-compartmentalize and blur the lines between Church friends and friends! Who are the people you make time to see? Who are the people that you can be you around, who you invite over regularly to eat with, to catch up on life with, to share your life with? Are they the same people you see regularly on Sunday morning?

If we are going to claim to be a Church that sees human relationships as key to living out the faith, then we must de-church zone our fellow church members and must invite them into our whole lives, not just to small group time, or Sunday morning service time, or potluck dinner time.

What’s the challenge? Call up someone you see on Sunday mornings but not during your normal week or during your normal social time and invite them to hangout. Share a meal, play Mario Kart, grab coffee, go shopping together or whatever else you can think of and break them out of the zone you’ve put them in.

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-TW