To some, it seems like God is no longer a loving Father but an old grandpa who is out of tune with their daily life and out of sync with culture. He's no longer (ready for an overused and misunderstood word?)..."relevant."
Teens are looking to people like Justin Bieber and hypepriests (as GQ calls them), like Judah Smith and Chad Veach, who know how to dress like them, talk like them, dance like them, who listen to the same music as them and who know their lingo. (Because if they have a lot of followers they must be doing something right...right? Not according to Jesus.)
In other words, they don't want someone who's holy and different than them. They want someone who will always be okay with them, just as they are.
In his article on GQ, Sam Schube seems to be a bit perplexed at this whole phenomenon. He writes:
"Justin Bieber and his pastors are dressing identically. They are having a ball glorying in god. They want to be “better at 70,” which, if I’m being honest, feels like a pretty low bar to clear. (Just be better now! Or at 40!) But what they really want, it seems, is to dress like pop stars on vacation.
It is not exactly news that pastors have learned how to dress with style and panache; this has been the case since Hillsong burst onto our cultural radar. But when did it become cool for the biggest pop star in the world to dress like his pastor? Or, perhaps more to the point: when did rock-star preachers start dressing like Justin Bieber?"
You don't need leaders who can relate to you. You need leaders who walk with Christ.
They should, of course, be able to understand you and empathize with you. They should listen. They should rejoice with you, weep with you, and battle in prayer with you and for you. But, keep in mind, only Jesus REALLY understands you. Stop putting so much pressure and expectation on man and getting upset or labeling your leaders as uncaring or unable, just because they're not exactly like you or you think they don't get you.
I can relate = I've been there, I've done that. (This is impossible to expect from all your leaders. There are some things they have not experienced and can't relate to 100%)
I understand you = I'm putting myself in your situation. Here's something similar I experienced.
I'm not taking leaders off the hook. Far from it. But like we find in the example of Paul and Timothy, they (leaders, pastors, mentors, etc.) are equipped by God, through the Spirit, to train young leaders for the work of the ministry, to get them involved in the activities of the (local) church, to speak well of them to others as a means of encouragement, and to communicate their love, respect, and appreciation for them as a son/daughter, brother/sister, fellow child of God, co-laborer, and messenger of Christ.
They may not know the songs you're singing, never been to a club, never smoked anything, and are clueless to all the 'relevant' (there's that word again) issues of culture and media that you're following but the things they have are far more valuable than the things you say that they don't have - Sound doctrine. Suffering. Consistency. A good reputation among believers and non-believers. Anointing. Passion. A family who loves and respects them. Integrity. And more.
You need to get in line with the Truth they know. Truth with a capital 'J.'
You need a leader who has the stamina to show you the way you should go, according to God's Word, even if he/she can't entirely relate to you.
There's more to be said but I'll end with this: Are you meeting them half-way? You expect them to understand you but are you understanding them?
Only God through His Word can change you.
Not a church culture. Not a small group. Not a cool leader.
Look to Him, not to man.
You need leaders who are walking with Christ, not with the world. Leaders who are worthy to be followed and listened to because of their Christ-centered character & teaching, not their lingo, tight jeans or social content.
Keep the fire burning,
with Danny & Daniela Kovacs
No family is an island. Join us as we share candid discussions, Biblical advice & resources to help keep God at the center of your faith, family and career.