The Responsibility Of Spiritual Leadership #popeVtrump

I have been re-reading a book entitled, "You Lost Me", by David Kinnaman.  Out of this exhaustive sociological research has come many findings on the youth culture today. Let me detail one of them as it relates to The Coming Teen Decade. That period of time in a century that only comes once. It began in 2013 and ends in 2019. Seven years of teens. Seven years to emphasize our ministry to teens.

Reading the section of the Kinnaman text about how students are being misunderstood, my eyes are opened to how much Christian leaders add to the distance between teens and the faith of the church. Although students may be hyper and easily distracted, bored with church and their youth group, reckless and foolish, or even dis-respectful and self-centered, maybe there are greater reasons for this than the students to blame. Because we also see settings where teenagers are passionate for God and growing in their discipleship. And ready to lead the Church into its best days. 

Over the past few days there has been a growing schism between Donald Trump and the leader of the Catholic Church, the Pope. This has been played out publicly and is something that is discouraging to see. You cannot turn the television on or listen to a radio station or read a newspaper without the Pope calling Trump out and questioning his Christianity. Mostly because of Trump's desire to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. When most people do not realize that the Vatican has a wall around it. Hypocrisy? Fair criticism?

Some Important Questions

-Is the hypocrisy of religious leaders turning off a generation to the gospel? At a time when we should be seeing the Church rise in love, it seems to be falling in hypocrisy. Don't get me wrong, I love the church and I work for it. And God has no other way of reaching lost humanity with the Gospel.  But, we should expect more from our spiritual leaders.

-Could the boredom and lack of involvement in the Church of a younger generation be caused by a lack of unity and love on our part as spiritual leaders? I think it's more important that we celebrate our unity and not our differences. Unless we are going to do that personally and not publicly. 

-Does the judgment that religious leaders have toward one another repel the Milennials and others from the Church? The future of the church is dependent upon the health of this younger generation. And from what I see across the country, young people are ready to lead the church. What kind of church that will be is dependent upon spiritual leaders today. 

-Have you ever been dis-appointed by a person in authority? Especially a person of spiritual leadership. There is a cause for this lack of respect for authority. It is usually mis-guided and mis-behaved leaders who are elevated to a position without the integrity.

We must be quick to love and not quick to judge. Everything that we know about America is that we have free speech. There is, however, a difference between free-speech and how spiritual leaders should conduct themselves. The higher standard that leaders must take publicly when talking about each other. The stakes are too high and it is too easy to dishearten a younger generation by our hypocrisy and our judgment. Love is better than judgment.  Maybe these kind of statements should take place between two individuals. 

As Jesus said, 'first remove the log in your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to remove the speck in your brother's eye.' Some great advice from Christ in Matthew 7.5.

If we want to truly reach and to lead The Coming Teen Decade, we must engage them and not dis-engage them. Our attitude toward each other may have more to do with that than any behavior issues of theirs.