Volume 8 Number 6

So I've been directed to a Philosophy Now article that tells me that postmodernism has been replaced by pseudomodernism. I'm not sure what to make of this yet, nor what implications, if true, it may have on Christianity, preaching and church.

But it got me thinking about complaints that are starting to be made more and more of the pseudo-modern, Gen Y sort of crew. And I would like to soften these criticisms and try to offer some words in their defence.

The Gen Y crowd are apparently individualistic, self-absorbed, naively optmistic, incompetent with basic life skills and non-committal. They are the STABO generation (Subject To A Better Offer). They can be berated for letting church down by not commiting to ministries, not signing up to conferences soon enough.

There's plenty of truth to this no doubt. At the very least, these sins are to a certain extent common to all people. But what might be said to balance things out? Well I've just got two things to get the ball rolling:

  1. If they *are* more individualistic and uncommitted, this is at least in part because of the failure of the Baby Boomer and Gen X parents and church leaders who failed to teach and train them in these areas. This rebuke is also a call for us to be more dilligent in our leading of those under our care.
  2. We don't want to judge what commitment and competence looks like by yesterday's standards. Punctuality looks different in Africa than it does in Germany. Restraint looks different in Britain than it does in Australia. The Gen Y has grown up in a world of multiple commitments, vast amounts of information and networks of powerful relationship technology. They may be less reliable in certain relationships, but in others they are far more realiable than a Baby Boomer technophobe, or a Gen X internet pragmatist.
What does this mean to me as a church leader? I think I need to see future generations less as 'normal' people. Everyone is a manager now with a mobile centre of operations (PDA, iPod, mobile phone). Everyone is connected to a vast network of information and relationships.

I can't just expect reliability and commitment from people as if all they have to juggle is their A5 2007 diary with a TODO list in the margin. Now, everyone is a manager of a department: their life. I need to treat every under-30 in my church the way I would only treat the CEO of earlier generations.

If all someone has is a diary, then they are only disorganised in one place. Now, people are disorganised across several galaxies of technology. As a leader, if I want to promote reliability and commitment, I need to be committed to serving people with providing a user-friendly interface that will help them.

Volume 8 Number 5

1. My friend Matt recognises that busy, educated, affluent people often have plenty of friends and feel they don't need to me Christian friends on top of it all.

*But* such people are often too busy and spread themselves too thin... they have lots of relatoinships but none are very deep. When they get a taste of that in the church, perhaps they will see the appeal.

That presupposes we are any different in the church...

2. At a recent conference the speaker suggested this definition of a worldview: 'What you think when you are not thinking"

3. I am about to preach on Luke 8. In verses 16-18 we find these familiar words:

16"No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. 17For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. 18Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him."
Now Jesus often uses very similar phrases and ideas in different contexts. He can even mean different things by the same parable or phrase. I think this is the case here. I was reading this passage in the light of Matthew 5 (you are the light of the world... let your light shine before men) and Matthew 10 (proclaiming from the rooftops). As a result I took the things that are revealed and brought into the open (Luke 8:17) to be the truths of the gospel.

But on reflection, and carefully re-reading, I don't think so. I think this whole passage us about the light of God's word shining into our lives, exposing the secrets of our hearts. That explains the 'therefore' at the start of verse 18 too.

4. At this churchplanting conference by Martin Robinson, when he spoke on gathering and training a core group/launch team, I was expecting lots of hints and tips and practicals about skill-sets and group dynamics. Instead he spent most of an hour talking about godliness, spiritual discipline and so on. It wasn't generalised, superspiritual stuff, but really good quality, practical application.

It was a good reminder: a core group has its greatest potential in the way it establishes the spiritual DNA of the church, its values, culture, conversation and mindset.