I know, I know… two posts in a day. What can I say?
I just finished an excellent discussion over lunch with a great friend. He’s is in a place of transition within his church and his school: since he recently graduated college and is moving on to grad school, he no longer “fits” within the church group he has called home for the past 6 years, and he knows he needs to move on and find another group to be a part of at his church.
This friend has been an active – I’d argue integral – part of this particular ministry, and he has a lot to offer others who are there. He’s a maturing Follower, loves the Lord, and has an ability to minister to those who are less fortunate in a way I seriously admire. He has led small groups, preached to the larger group, led groups to minister in tangible ways to those who have not.
But he’s too old. He’s up against the ceiling.
The church’s prescription for spiritual growth says he must now tear himself from the appendage of the Body to which he has so intimately entwined his life and his heart. He is being pruned from this part of the tree, and left to graft himself on to a new branch on his own. Many others before him have blown in the wind and landed on new trees, or fallen from the forest altogether.
Although I am confident in my friend’s ability to find a new home for ministry, a new group in which to be a part, and a place he can again call home, I wonder why he is put in this sort of position to begin with.
Why does the Church do such a poor job of helping those in my friend’s position to continue on in the journey? Why this artificial age-based ceiling, anyway? Why doesn’t the church foster age-based relationships and allow them to last and grow, even beyond the artificial delimiters of college graduation or marriage? Does the Church not see the value of diversity within the community, allowing the singles and marrieds, old and young, leaders and followers, servants and thinkers to fellowship, live, and grow together?
I’m praying for this friend of mine, and for myself and the Church as a whole, for that matter. That he and we would work to create a more healthy, dynamic church home for all ages. That he can discern, through prayer, counsel, and trial, his role within this church and The Church, and that Christ would use this opportunity to continue to grow him and teach him.
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