As I begin to discuss some of my observations of this area of the church, one thing that must remain clear and true throughout this entire discussion is the command from God for pastors to "prepare the saints for ministry." My entire goal of seeing this transition done well is because it is my passion to see people find their fit in the larger Body of the Church. We all have a ministry that God has shaped and formed us for and it is my opinion that we are best supported and most effective when we see that happening inside the context of the church.
You want to serve the poor? Join the Church, cause government is not going to support you to the end. You want to see people live in peace? Join the Church, cause all the remedies of the world cannot change the status and desire of the heart of man. The Church is God's chosen instrument to show His glory in all the earth. The question is how do we best equip those for the ministry they have been designed for?
There seems to be a reality that post-high school people are very much still in their formative years. Truth be told, I'm currently 24 and I would still consider myself to being "formed." It is because of this formation that we tend to find these years being stressful, daunting, difficult, continually changing and, in today's world, constantly seeking truths and realities in the world. What is so trying to me is that there are many who attempt to go through this period of time outside the bounds of a consistent fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ. We have been duped into believing that no one will actually support us in our dreams, that conflict is the evidence of a lack of support, and that in the end, we really cannot trust anyone. We have been convinced that our way is the best way for us and that remains true for every other person on the planet.
So, my question is, is this separation from the church, a result of bad programming, bad practical theology in youth ministry, or is the message of Jesus and His steadfastness being lost somewhere in the shuffle? Have we become so programmed that we have missed the reality of deeper connection and complete attention on Jesus? Where does the change need to happen? Where's the missed point? Last 10%: Who owns this one? Is it time to change the program or is it time for the person of faith to own their faith and their role in the Body?
I tend to think it is a both/and, and I begin to wonder about the ways that we have tried to bridge the gap in the past.