thing different than my parents, we
talked about it and they never took
it as a personal slight.
When I got too cocky about my
theological prowess, I remember my
dad reminding me, “Becca, people
have been debating this for hundreds
if not thousands of years. Let’s not
assume we know all the answers.”
AUTHEN TIC FAITH IS
ABOUT BEING A TEAM,
NOT JUST A CLUB
But what about the families whose
parents had authentic faith, but
their kids still rebelled? While I was
studying the stories I collected, I
discovered kids who rebelled tended to see church as a club, while
kids who remained strong had
more of a team mentality.
In a club people feel they belong
and share common interests, but it
doesn’t go further than that. When
church is a club, it may become
shallow since all your hard work
simply helps to improve your club.
To teens constantly exposed to
the horrors of war or natural disasters on the news, club-type churches
Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach is a writer
and blogger from Ottawa.
Remember Hemorrhaging Faith?
The 2012 research report Hemorrhaging Faith: Why and When
Canadian Young Adults Are Leaving, Staying and Returning to
Church investigated why Canadian youth leave Church and why
they stay ( www.HemorrhagingFaith.com). Survey respondents
in that research who fit in the Engaged category – youth who
remained in the Church – reported growing up with parents
who modelled their faith authentically, engaging in practices
for their own spiritual growth that their children witnessed.
They watched their parents pray, read the Bible and grapple
with their own spiritual lives in an open and transparent way.
Parents of Engaged young adults also dialogued about
matters of faith with their children. According to the report
there were frequent “instances where parents deliberately
pass on their faith. Contrary to common belief, this usually
doesn’t look like lecturing. The most effective faith instruction
takes place organically.” –F T S TAFF
don’t seem to have a lot of real-world
significance. So when the teens
grow up and move out, God becomes
just a nice thing to believe in.
However, seeing the church as a
team demands more from us. It offers that same community, but also
requires training, focus and the tireless pursuit of a common goal – in
this case furthering God’s Kingdom.
The club mentality can produce
apathy in faith. The team approach
I loved youth group growing up,
but my faith extended beyond the
four walls of the church. Every year
at Christmas my sister and I would
choose gifts to send from the Harvest of Hope catalogue. When I was
11 we went on our first of three
mission trips to Kenya, and my sister
and I were heavily involved in organizing and gathering donations
for a children’s home throughout
our teenage years.
Our faith cost us – it demanded
some of our time, it meant we
didn’t fit in very well with a lot of
kids, and it required our focus to
not only be on ourselves.
When being part of church or the
Christian faith feels like it’s just
another fun club, it’s easy to take it
lightly. But when faith requires
training, discipline and dedication
to take on a task greater than yourself – the way a team does – it takes
on new meaning.
SHIFTING OUR FOCUS BACK
ON TO JESUS
It really comes down to focus. In
some families the focus is on appearance. Doing the right thing.
Checking off all the boxes. In others
the focus is on making church a
great place to be, inadvertently
making church more into a clubhouse than a place to refine faith.
For all these the focus is off.
In my family, and the families of
others I interviewed for my book,
the focus was on authentic relationship with Jesus that should
have real-world significance. And
in the end, for the Christian Millennials like me, it made all the
What I mean
NOT REBELLING IS
ABOU T A LOT MORE
THAN NEVER DOING
AN YTHING WRONG.
MIS TAKES, BU T NO T
REBELS. WHAT I
MEAN WHEN I SAY
WE DIDN’ T REBEL
IS THAT WE CHOSE
TO LIVE WITH GOD
AS THE FOCUS. THE
KIDS WHO REBELLED
CHOSE FOR A TIME TO
LIVE CONTRARY TO
WHAT THE Y KNE W
GOD WAN TED FOR
THEM. THOSE OF US
WHO DIDN’ T REBEL,
EVEN THOUGH WE
AC TIVELY TRIED TO
HONOUR GOD EVER Y
WWW.FAITHTODAY.CA / MAY / JUNE 2017 33