My apologies to anyone who remembers the song I referenced in the title of this post.
Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. From my experience, many churches and ministries could thus (by Einstein’s definition) be considered certifiable. I’m not knocking traditions- they can play invaluable roles in the lives of individuals and congregations- but it saddens me to see potential wasted when those making decisions only cling to “the way we’ve always done it” and refuse to try anything new. It’s worse when those same people loudly lament that none of their hopes or dreams for their church have come to fruition.
I’m no expert, but I believe that we forfeit the right to bemoan the lack of young people in our churches (and in our denomination) when we consistently make decisions not to fund ministries directly aimed at serving those same young people. In the United Methodist Church, the lack of support for Wesley Foundations (ministries to college students) is the epitome of the insanity within our system, but many churches undoubtedly provide their own examples when it comes to children, youth, and young adults. We can cry all we want about aging congregations and the “Death Tsunami” that will inevitably wipe out congregations that don’t add young members, but it seems to me that in many cases we’re just getting what we pay for.
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