Is it important for the church to be connected with church history and tradition? In a recent article in the newspaper (may have been the Wall Street Journal, if not then our local Arizona Republic) documented how the present generation of twenty and thirty year olds were spiritual but not necessarily church-goers. The article detailed how each individual is searching to find spiritual fulfillment but not in the context of community. There was a desire for individual independence and reliance upon self in that search rather than any institutional affiliation. How should the church address this issue if it wants to continue to be relevant in our society? Is being part of a denomination important? If so, why is it? (That is an essay question for elders.)
I am of the opinion that young people increasingly so have very little interest in history and for some it has no relevance. Watching a quiz show on Television recently, the question was asked by the host for the contestants to place in historical order the following events: Civil War, War of 1812, the Revolutionary War, and the Vietnam War. One individual thinking out loud thought the “Revolutionary War” had to do with women’s suffrage. They were unable to correctly answer the question. In a gadget filled world, my impression is that our present generation and those that follow will be more interested in contemporary moments than how the past relates to the present and future.
Individual spirituality is fine. But if we do not have it in the context of present and past community, I believe we will never be challenged to grow in our faith. The faith of our forefathers is both rich and instructive. I have always maintained that denominationalism creates accountability, healthy dialogue and historical perspective. I wonder if as a denomination we continue to emphasis the concept of “Communion of the Saints” as an important element in our church.
Specifically, how is your church challenging the independent minds of our young people to be connected with the church universal? How much of the rich history of theology and activity of the church do they receive in the context of your church education program (if they are attending public school, rest assured, there is a void in their education)?
Waiting to hear from the elders!