The heart of the local church l Worship

Raising our kids in a culture of extremes
By Jim Beirne, Student Ministry Pastor, Mukilteo Presbyterian Church | Oct 17, 2018

As a Youth Pastor in Mukilteo for the past 15 years, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to see the positive impact of the local church in the lives of students right here in our community.

In a time when there is so much fear, hate and negativity in the world, the local church remains a unique place where kids can come to explore spirituality, find emotional support and even have some basic physical needs met; not to mention a place to just have fun in a safe, open environment.

For many years, the local church has been a trusted part of the community responding alongside many other community groups to meet the needs of those around us. With the rise of so many extreme groups, and pressure from our culture, kids are faced at a young age with challenges and situations their predecessors never even had to think about.

A student recently asked me if our church was like the church that sends its representatives out into our community with loud speakers, preaching the frightening message of “turn or burn.”

I understand as a parent how this harsh delivery can confuse our kids about the real message of Christ. I replied that the answer is complicated.

Having personally witnessed these groups on many occasions, I can say without question that as an adult, I was a bit confused and most definitely did not feel love in their message but a spirit of fear and intimidation. I had to explain that the true church, or in Christian language “the body of Christ,” is not a building, but is made up of individuals from all walks of life of every tongue, tribe, and nation.

Those who are part of “the body of Christ” are those who strive to follow in the ways of Jesus. The local church is just that, followers of Christ in our community who model the love and grace of our leader, Jesus.

Whenever I’m asked about the behavior of the church I can only respond with the words of the head of the church - Jesus Christ, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Those who are truly following Christ should have an attitude of humility and grace as the one we claim to follow has surely provided us with the ultimate example of love through His love and sacrifice for us on the cross.

We must educate our kids to look deeper into the claims of those who claim to represent Jesus Christ or His Church.

In this culture of extremes, I am saddened that for our kids, the church and the name Christian have been so tainted by extreme, odd behaviors that the love of God is unrecognizable in the name. Instead, it is equated with political views, gender issues and hatred, instead of love, grace and sacrifice.

 

 

 

 

 

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