This week’s eNewsletter Feature
was written by Rev. Amanda Golbek
FPCE minister of children and youth.
I spend a considerable amount of my time wondering about the future of the big “C” Church, the future of Christianity, the future of the faith of our youngest disciples.
Currently I am reading “Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World.” The book provides an interesting illustration of the factors that inform who Generation Z* is and what their cultural landscape looks like in relation to faith and Christian experience. While the book focuses on a particular generation, it isn’t just about Generation Z — it is also about the realities and trends of the generations that have sought to hand down the faith to Generation Z. It is about the challenges that all Christian disciples must wrestle and engage with if we are to continue faithfully following Christ in honoring our call to be “fishers of people.”
I think if you have been on the Christian journey at least a little while, or have been around any churches — and, chances are, even if you are totally new to this whole discipleship thing — you know, on some level, the clear reality that Christianity, its place and role in our culture and people’s lives, has changed. Many can trace those changes within their own lifetime. We can sense the receding position of Christianity in guiding the cultural rhythms of our lives.
Here, I am going to make a potentially challenging claim: I actually think it is better this way. I think we are headed into an era where we are being reminded of what it means to be a disciple. In this way, our current Christian landscape presents both a challenge and a blessing.
The challenge is we are being forced to examine what discipleship is and what it entails; we are having to shed all the layers of merely cultural Christianity that have distracted and obscured the image that Christ himself sets before us.
Discipleship is a journey of following Christ that, in and through the journey, transforms us, helping us to become more Christlike, and, in that transformation, compelling us to turn outwards, seeking to bring others on this same journey and transform the world in the midst of it all. It isn’t about checking off a set of requirements, or showing up to a certain number of church events. Discipleship isn’t something we do along with all the other activities of our lives. Discipleship is the WHOLE thing we do in our lives.
Theologian Alister McGrath remarks, “Spirituality… arises from a creative and dynamic synthesis of faith and life, forged in the crucible of the desire to live out the Christian faith authentically, responsibly, effectively, and fully.” Faith and life are wrapped up in one another. We are not a disciple AND a lawyer, teacher, mother, father, sister, brother, accountant, or student. We are disciples who live out the full breadth of discipleship in all aspects of our lives.
This brings me to the blessing of our current Christian situation. Stripping away the surface appearances and appurtenances, we are being called once again in the way that Jesus called the first disciples on the sea of Galilee. We are called to drop everything. To let discipleship define all that we are.
In doing so, we say yes to stepping into a faith that is deep and robust, that changes our lives each and every day.
We also say yes to being called as disciples who let Jesus loose in the world. We must stop confining him to the walls of a church. In his ministry, Jesus wandered from place to place gathering disciples, calling people into relationship. We must go, we must find our way onto the sidewalks, into the neighborhoods and community areas where people are. We must learn to seek relationship in all aspects of our lives.
As we continue to faithfully listen for our call to discipleship, I hope you will join us on Sunday as we continue in our sermon series on following Christ with our head, heart, and hands. We will dig deeper into what it means to live a life defined by true discipleship.
Looking to see disciples in our pews!
Minister of Children & Youth
*Generation Z makes up more than 25 percent of the US population and were born approximately between 1993 and 2012.