"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young...." 1 Timothy 4:12a
I used to take that verse and make it my own. I used to take that verse and use it to remind me that God had called me to do what I was doing..... preaching, leading, seeking to try and follow him.
But I don't any more. Because I am not young anymore. There are other verses that affirm me in my calling, in where I am going and in who I am in God.
However, there are a number of people who look on me as that young one who has been called by God - not in a looking down on me sort of way but as an encouragement to them that young ones are coming through.
|Before snapchat you had to|
paint your face green and
wear an optic fibre lamp in
your hair to give a similar
But the thing is, I am not young. I am just too old to be called a millenial, never mind whatever comes after that. I don't understand snapchat and the use of snapchat filters causes me to frown like the way people used to frown at my generation when people were buying trolls and dummies (what were those plastic dummies about?). I went off to uni (first time) 20 years ago and I have peers from school who have 4 children (some of whom are teenagers and above) and others who are now Grandparents. I am getting to the age where the possibility of being able to have children is sliding away and I now wake up aching rather than jump out of bed (to be honest, I've never been a jumper out of bed).
And while I know that what constitutes young is very much determined by the culture of the room and situation, the meaning of young is defined in community.... I'm getting increasingly worried about our perception of young in churches.
If I am a young one, a youth, a fresh faced voice into the mix, then I think we've found one of the answers as to why churches have the so-called 'missing generation' (I'm even almost too old for that now) - 20s and 30s are missing from our churches - why is that? Perhaps its because we forgot to treat them as adults, we treated them as youth until they were so far beyond youth they were almost pensioners. We humoured their ideas and ways forward, but we never took them seriously. We made some token changes, but we did not recognise the need for radical overhaul as life changed and the so called young moved on.
And for many, because of this, church has become a tradition to be nodded to rather than a living and active spiritual house. And that, very much, is a problem..... and we need to change.