The Challenge Before Us

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This is a live blog by Terry Delaney during the Connecting Church and Home Conference March 2009 at Brentwood Baptist Church in Nashville. You can also read confernce notes on the Soujour Kids blog

Session #5: The Challenge Before Us (Mike Glenn)

mike_glenn_I am Baptist through and through so I am going to take some shot at Baptists.  There is a huge transition going on right now.  When something is not working properly, we feel we need to do them harder.  No one has the guts to say we are not doing it correctly.  We don’t do things the way we did in the 1950’s, so why are we trying to do things the way we did in the 1950’s?
Christ is shaking out His churches in North America right now.  He is getting rid of everything that is not of Him.  That is painful and it should be.  You have to have a day where you realize that you cannot go back to what you have been doing.  We did some surveys and learned that we were just like Willow Creek where our model was not working.  When 70% of your adults tell you they do not know enough about Jesus Christ to share the gospel with a lost person, you know you are doing something wrong.
We discovered in our Tuesday night ministry that “little dude” brings in much anger to the point that they will cuss in church.  I am in Ephesians 6 talking about honoring your parents.  One guy responded to me that he could not honor his dad.  After some pushing, I discovered that the kid did not know his dad because he had left when he was a child.
“Little Dude” from another story named John calls me up and says that he had to talk to me now.  John comes into my office shaking.  He had just found out he was going to be a dad.  He was scared because of his own father.  He was scared that his son would be him in 30 years-a dad without a dad.  There is some anger at mom as well.  This is mostly from the “Little Dudettes” who hate what “these people” did to me.  There is a lot of anger.
This anger does all kinds of things.  They are angry at the church.  Why didn’t someone tell my mom or dad what they did was wrong?  When we started doing all the things the experts told us to do with the big events and such, we dropped the ball.  When we started teaching the Bible, we were told that “we had never heard this before.”
When we do not biblically ground our children in the word, they will be destroyed by the storms of life.  They don’t come back to church upon leaving for college because they were not grounded in the word.  They have a huge question mark in their life because of this.  It would be wonderful if this question mark was over doctrine but it is not.  There question mark leads to a question of identity and biblical love.  Instead of listening to the Bible, they are listening to Oprah.  You had better know what Oprah is teaching because she is the High Priestess of the women in your church.
These questions lead to heartache, disillusionment and an identity Crisis.  They do not know that they were made to worship God.  The truth of the matter is our culture is co-dependant.  We do not need one another to survive.  We need Christ, but they don’t know that because they have not been told that.
Hope is word that is lost in America today.  Hope in Jesus is the same as saying “I hope it rains.” Hope has been robbed of its meaning.  Because we are sure the future will be as Jesus says it is, we will begin to live in the now.  In this hope, you will find your identity.  Your identity is found in the imago dei-you are worth more than I can tell you.
Once they have their identity, they will begin to see their destiny.  They will see that there is a kingdom purpose to their life.  We need to understand that we are a church on mission.  I have news for you; we are not a Christian nation.  We do not live in a culture that supports our children’s faith in God.  We are a church in exile.  Most of our ministries and programs are done from the belief that we are a God-centered culture.  You have to pay attention to your culture!  This might mean that you have to watch movies you don’t want to watch and read books you don’t want to read.
You have to interpret the gospel for the culture.  You have to find a way to get it to them in ways that they get.  That is why the movie Fireproof worked.  We don’t have to worry about changing culture.  We need to create culture.
Lastly, you need to understand you are a missionary.  Jesus said to his disciples to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send workers.  There has never been a better time to proclaim Jesus Christ than right now.  All of the false gods have been exposed.
About Mike Glenn
Never short on passion or personality, Mike Glenn explores the Word of God with a contagious fascination. Whether heartfelt or humorous, his words have the power to reach people. Since he began as pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church (BBC) in 1991, membership has skyrocketed from 900 to more than 7,000.
Mike is the author of In Real Time: Young Adult Ministry As It Happens, in which he describes his church’s ministry to the post-modern culture.  Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, Mike graduated from Samford University with a degree in speech and drama and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky with two degrees: master of divinity and doctorate of ministry.
Mike is married to Jeannie and they have twin sons, Chris and Craig.

Special thanks to Terry Delaney who contributed this guest post. To read more of Terry’s writing visit Going To Seminary or Diary of a Seminary Student.

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