Chaplain Mike at The Internet Monk has a distinctive take on some of the issues of generational leadership and the importance of reaching out to young adults that we have been discussing here on The Lead lately:
Contrary to what I hear around me so often, I want my grandfather’s church.
I know, I know… there are characteristics of that old, traditional church that are not desirable: many had a narrow, parochial spirit, many were characterized by pervasive judgmental attitudes. They could be exclusive, racist, uncreative, and stuck in their ways. This I readily admit and abhor. A congregation that replaces a living, thriving, growing tradition with anemic or dead traditionalism is of no interest to me.
But I want a church where I know and feel that the adults are in charge, where wisdom trumps enthusiasm, where historical perspective is considered, where depth is valued as much as breadth, where stories have shaped us for generations.
I understand the attraction of youth and enthusiasm and energy. We need young leaders too, but let them be those who have older mentors to guide them and recommend them, not brash entrepreneurs who come with all the answers and stake out territory on their own. As I said before, I want the adults to be in charge.
If you read his entire post, you will understand that Chaplain Mike is comparing mainline worship, broadly defined, to mega-church worship, and it is entirely true that many young adults prefer the former to the latter just as he does. But he also seems to be asserting the importance of tradition–and, it would seem, older leadership–at a time when much of the church feels called to figure out what our rapidly changing institutions will look like a decade or so down the line.
What do you think about this?
(Hat tip: Derek Olsen)