Mystery of the Bell Tower

Our first video is up on YouTube.  It offers a window into part of my motivation for writing On Our Origins.  Feel free to watch it and then tell the world what you think of Redeemer’s bell tower.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FbAtPDAQjs

The statistics I quoted in the video are from a study funded by the Pew Research Center.  You can see the entire report here: http://www.pewforum.org/Age/Religion-Among-the-Millennials.aspx

According to this report, 64% of people ages 18-29 are absolutely certain that God exists.  59% even believe that the Bible is the Word of God.  And yet, only 33% worship on a weekly basis.

As you think about the video, consider how the Church may be failing to engage young people, including many who are already members of Christ’s body, but no longer participate in worship.

Consider also how many of today’s young adults, disillusioned with traditional institutions (such as Church, marriage, colleges and universities to name a few) and hyper-independent, may be missing out by failing to be actively engaged in the worship life of the Church.

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3 thoughts on “Mystery of the Bell Tower

  1. JB July 7, 2013 at 8:53 pm Reply

    This question, “how [may] the Church be failing to engage young people,” is a thought provoking one for me. I must admit, the first thing that comes to mind is the danger of attempting to tailor the Gospel to one audience in particular. Down that road lies the danger of moral relativism. Few people like to hear their sins called sins from the pulpit, even when that might just be what they need to hear.

    I have several friends who attend very “modern” churches, complete with video projectors and live bands. I can’t help but think that they are depending too much on the “fun” of worship and leaving behind of the importance of the sacraments.

    On the other hand, I think it is a good idea for congregations to be conscious of the tendencies that come along with life on one’s own. Regular contact and support from a pastor or congregant can go a long way. It is amazing how good it felt to learn that a member of my home congregation (someone I hardly knew) included me in her daily prayers! What strength she lent my faith, I can hardly imagine!

  2. jbandgirl July 15, 2013 at 9:57 pm Reply

    I think its really easy for churches to think that it requires that fun atmosphere to get youth in the pews. Society has escalating rapidly to a state of dependence on the next big entertainment that can hold our attention for longer than the last trinket while we wait for the new one to come out. However, I also think it would surprise churches as to how much youth crave simple truth in a way that applies to them. Its almost a bit offensive and hurtful when churches assume that the only way to attract my age group is to blind us with light shows and throw tinsel in our faces.

    I look around and examine the state the world has gotten itself into. Its distressing. Its broken. Truth doesnt hold much worth to it, but it matters to me. I appreciate a church that tells me the truth and supplies a sturdy rock to which I can return; No tinsel or laser shows needed.

    • pastorlepley July 17, 2013 at 5:16 am Reply

      Jbandgirl,
      I think that what you describe happening in entertainment-driven worship is a consequence of playing form against substance in worship. This has been a perennial issue for the Church since the time of the apostles and gets at the heart of the relationship between God and His people. Some think that worship is something human beings do in order to encounter God. Others understand worship as the place where God comes to His people in a special way, revealing Himself as He is to His people.
      For my part, I am much more concerned that worship be understood as a gift God gives to His people. In worship God reveals Himself to us in a special way so that we can know Him as He is. This understanding makes the human element of worship (form) much less important than content (Christ). When we imagine that how we worship is what makes it or breaks it for us I fear we have lost something special.
      The apostle Paul gave wide leniency to the Christians in Colossae in how they worshiped: “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17, ESV). You are right, laser shows and tinsel thrown in the face can be distracting, especially if this is supposed to somehow excite worshipers to some super-spiritual experience. At the same time, I’ve had a similarly dissatisfying experience worshiping in a place where the organ was simply too loud. Lasers, tinsel and organs aren’t the key to encountering God. Being gathered around God’s Word and being blessed by His Spirit as He gives us His gifts is most important.
      Check out my post on the revealed knowledge of God here in a bit. Since this topic is so important, I will also post a video blog on worship soon. Blessings in Christ!

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