Posts Tagged ‘post modern generation’

Last evening, I went to one of our regular restaurants to pick up supper and take it home.  I had to ask for the menu, even though we have eaten there dozens of times over the last decade, and I thought to myself: shouldn’t I know the menu by now?

But the fact is that the menu has changed several times over the last ten years. I don’t mean just a new item or two replacing something that no one ever ate; rather, I’m talking about new menus that mean you can’t even remember what the old menu was anymore!

The latest iteration, however, was not about new items, but about combinations of items. For just $20 you can have your choice of appetizers from a pre-selected list, plus any two entrées, again from a selected list. That’s the combination package that I chose, but there were other groupings as well. Lots of choices!

Have you walked down the cereal aisle lately at the grocery store? And it is a whole aisle—because there are so many different brands and kinds of breakfast cereal. I’m a Cheerios person myself, but now I have to choose between original, Honey Nut, Multi Grain, Apple Cinnamon, Banana Nut, Chocolate, Dulce de Leche, Multi Grain Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Burst, Frosted, Fruity, Oat Cluster Crunch, and Yogurt Burst Cheerios.

Choices—lots of choices—are inherent in the mentality of our culture.  It wasn’t always so.  I remember when we only had three TV channels, not hundreds, and  most people drove either a Chevrolet or Ford.

The Keurig Brewing System is a great example of how we function today.  Keurig advertises its machines as “single cup” brewers of coffee, tea, and other hot drinks.  From what I can gather, Keurig offers about a dozen different versions of its machines from which to choose, both residential and commercial, as well as over 250 different flavors of beverages.

So instead of making a pot of coffee which you drink out of your favorite mug each morning, you get to walk into the kitchen just barely awake and decide whether you want coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, then decide whether you want a breakfast blend of coffee or a real man’s roast, then decide whether you want an expresso-size or mug-size coffee, then punch a button and all your dreams come true! After that cup,  you decide whether you want another cup—and your decision tree starts all over again.

And people love having all those choices every time they want a cup of coffee! 

Church leaders tend to resist lots of choices.  Many, many choices mean messy organization, messy vision, messy budgets, messy theology.  Church leaders want simple church, single purpose, focused activities, and unified vision.

If you have tension in your church between elders and ministers and/or leaders and members, chances are good that it has to do with those who want choices and those who don’t.

If you are a church leader, think about these things:

  • The Apostle Paul had only seven points of unity in his letter to the Ephesians: One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God.  If we insist on unity on these points, we have apostolic backing.  If we go beyond this list, we are on our own!
  • This need for lots of choice is a generational difference—and the younger generation always wins because they live longer than you do!  When you are gone, they are going to sing the songs of their choice, meet when they want to, in the groups they like.  If it is not in defiance of Paul’s unities, don’t try to force everyone to eat Original Cheerios just because it is your favorite!
  • Allow yourself to see choices at church as something positive. I bet you don’t just watch network TV anymore—if you watch TV at all. When we got our first “other” channel in the DFW area, they showed the same movie in prime time for three nights in a row. Now you have your choice of around 75 thousand movies on Netflix at any time of the day or night. So many choices allow us to choose good movies now, not just the ones some program director wants us to see.  And that’s good!

Sherrylee’s Grandmother Blackman is famous in our family for saying when asked about raising teenagers, “If it’s not a sin, let them do it!”

That’s not bad advice for church leaders.  

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