Dan Reiland is a wise and experienced pastoral leader. In this article, he articulates well something that I have said for years. Churches must focus on the children and youth. If we cater mostly to the current generation, we risk accelerating the aging of our church. If we focus on the children, we renew our church.
Wisdom from Reiland
Here is something that common sense has always suspected. Applied religious faith makes a practical difference in the wholeness of people. Now we can say that the sociologists have confirmed it. A new study has shown statistically that religious practice by kids in childhood and teen years results in better well-being as young adults in crucial areas. Here are the links to both the news article reporting on the study and to the study itself. Among the list of positive effects carrying over into young adulthood are increased reported happiness, decreased drug use, and much less sexually transmitted disease.
If we needed it, it should be just one more reason to take the Bible seriously. And it certainly is an encouragement to parents that practicing faith as a family has a salutary effect on children in so many ways. Remember King David said;
Blessed is the one… whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. (Psalm 1:1, 3 NIV)
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matt 7:24-25 NIV
Here is a link to one of the best articles I have seen analyzing the historical and current situation in the United Methodist church. It is well worth reading. Chaplain Philips has both the wisdom of a long time United Methodist and the slight detachment and broad perspective provided by his years in the military chaplaincy.
Dr. Bob Philips article
I just read a great
Carey Nieuwhof article
that deals with one of the persistent issues for small churches that average less than 200 in attendance. This includes most of the churches in America. Even a cursory glance at the relatively flat statistical history of most such churches will cause the curious reviewer to ask the probing question, “Why do they usually stay small?” Sometimes there are obvious physical barriers such as the size of the building or a shortage of parking, but most of the time such external factors are not adequate to explain the struggles small congregations have. In this article, Nieuwhof puts his finger on a some other key issues that are so relevant. In my experience as a pastor, I can say that I would affirm this list of issues that hinder the growth of small churches. Overcoming these becomes as much part of the strategy for growth as adding methods of outreach or staffing a nursery or improving parking.
Here is a very helpful article for parents. It has a good perspective on helping children make healthy emotional adjustments in today’s world.
Reasons Today’s Kids Are Bored At School, Feel Entitled, Have Little Patience & Few Real Friends
Here is a thoughtful and challenging statement by some of the leaders of the church today. It helps us on the road to seeing how the church can take a stand today to distinguish itself in the confusion of the hour.
Today’s Hartford Currant had an excellent article that gets at the rest of the story about countries like Haiti, the part of the story that is not told. It’s not the whole story either. For starters, the government corruption endemic to so much of Latin America afflicts Haiti as well. But Americans need to know the part of the story Bill Heiden is telling. Haiti Commentary