From Your Pastor, April 29

From Your Pastor, April 29

Myth, Maturity, and Youth
“Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:13-14

I had a joyful time speaking to students at Georgia College last week. Most of these are involved in Campus Outreach there, and this is the group of 25 or so who have attended our Reformation Worship Conference in previous years. The pastor of the local PCA church there, Kreg Bryan, is seeing dozens of young people regularly flock to their worship. Even during the pandemic, the number of young students at that church has grown.
Why, you may ask, would young people look for and stay at a traditional-worshipping church? The answer is because they are looking for substance and meat (Heb. 5:12). Does their maturity surprise you?
It doesn’t shock us. Years before we moved here, we saw students drive a long commute to be in worship that was not all smoke-and-mirrors. New, hungry Christians often want to grow and receive as much from the Word as possible.
And you only need look around at your own church to see similarly. Our recent new members class was heavily tilted toward young families. And worldwide, that youthfulness is the trend as well, especially where the church is exploding in Africa, China, Korea, and the Middle East.
Maybe it’s time to recognize and retire a widespread myth of our generation: youth only want pop candy and fluff. Actually, young Christians who want to grow in Christ are more attracted to a mature ministry than to an entertainment ministry. I was reminded of that again in Milledgeville last week.
At that mini-conference I was asked to give two talks on “God’s Unfolding of Worship” and host a follow-up question and answer time. It was rich.
By way of sharing with you, the outline I used was simple. In my first talk I reviewed 5 OT passages; and I commented on 5 NT passages in my second talk. The Point: The Author of Worship alone has the right to define the approach and substance of worship.
The outline below shows how simple (yet biblical) the presentation was.

  • 5 OT passages on worship:
  1. Earliest worship, “calling on the name of the Lord”Gen. 4: idea of ‘sacrifice’

Contra Unmediated worship

  1. Ex. 20:4-6 Contra Imagery: Why? Nature of God
    • Also, cf Ex. 19:16-23; Heb. 12 commentary on not approaching flippantly
  2. Ex. 32 Contra Copying the Neighbors
  3. Lev. 10:1-3 Contra Inventiveness Also 2 Sam. 6:1-7
  4. Malachi 2:7-11 Contra Formalism, hypocrisy, show Also Ps. 51:16-17

Psalm 29:2 was a good summary verse.

  • 5 NT passages on worship: John 4, Acts 2-4, Rom. 12:1-2, Heb. 12:28-9, Rev. 4-5
  1. John 4 Spirit and Truth based
  2. Luke 4:12-21 Word based
    • Acts 2:42Acts examples (20:7, 27)
  3. Rom. 12:1 Holy based
  4. Heb. 12:28-29 Reverence based
  5. Revelation 1:17; 4:8-11; 5:6-14 Jesus Praise based

God actually has opinions on this subject; and he has generously shared those with us.
So, let’s don’t presume that all youth are interested in is fun and games. Indeed, most of the hired consultants are wrong on this. Of course, the same is true for all ages.
It’s really time to retire that old wrinkled myth that youth cannot absorb or are not interested in deep truths of the faith.
We also need to give younger people a bit more credit. They may be more insightful than some of us were at earlier ages.
So if you don’t want to be old-fashioned, it might be better to pattern more of our worship after Westminster** than Woodstock. The fruit sure seems to last longer. And the Author of worship knows better than pseudo-experts.
—Pastor Hall
** Join me on June 6 as we resume our combined Adult Sunday School class series on the Westminster Assembly.