The spiritual maturity of the people around me at church is at an all-time low.
Ok, now that I’ve got your attention, I don’t mean that really, and please allow me to throw out my ego and put on genuine humility here. But it just seems that all I seem to have on most days at church is shallow conversations with Christians who should not be so shallow. I have this bad feeling in my stomach that the girls/women at my church–especially those around my age–have been neglected in terms of discipleship and mentorship. I don’t want to imply that this is for everybody, but the I see and hear very little serious, solid, deep conversations from the girls (and guys) about their journey of faith and their mission in God’s story.
I say this now, as I am applying to Southern Seminary, because I feel like this area of discipling and mentoring is of utmost importance to the personal, emotional and spiritual growth of all Christians, regardless of age. However, those in the college/university generation are of even greater priority for discipleship/mentorship because it is the time in their life where the university culture either makes or breaks their faith–and personally, I would hope that it is the former.
I do not expect that there would be many women in our English congregation who are like me, who have a serious interest in Reformed theology and missional ecclesiology–let alone understand what those two things are. I only expect that there would be a generation of godly women who are devoted to Christ and His beautiful bride that is the church, women who would read, meditate and reflect deeply about God’s Word and their walks with Christ.
In today’s postmodern society where Scriptural perspecuity is questioned all the time, issues about the place of homosexuals and the role of women in the church are at the forefront of conversations between Christians and seekers. For this very reason that our faith is being attacked on all fronts by feminism, postmodernism, consumerism, paganism and apostasy, it is thus really important that we be there to support the next generation of church leaders–the teens and twenty somethings–women and men. As their peers who are just a few years older, we do not necessarily have to teach them doctrine, but in our lives we should definitely strive to be salt and light in this dark and depraved world. We should be helping them develop a biblical worldview so that they can come to an understanding about God’s truth in these issues about their role in the church and at home.
I specifically am specifically talking about women at my church, because I have had a good deal of contact with the younger guys. I have tried to build and keep friendships with the guys, often starting off guy-style-not-so-deep, and have done my best to be a somebody they can come to when they are in need of answers or support. For the girls, I do not know personally how the vast majority of them are doing spiritually. From what is visibly seen and audibly heard, I come back to the same question I have asked on this blog before: where are the godly women?!? Those humble ladies who are willing to be a witness to younger women, ladies who are committed to suffering for the sake of the Gospel, ladies who yearn to support the leadership of a true man of God, ladies who are devoted to submitting to Christ’s authority in the church and the home.
I am sure I have shared this with my dad in our discussions about seminary: I am very disappointed that there are no women in my church whom I consider suitable to even start a serious relationship. I say this with some personal resentment, but I say so especially with dire concern for my church’s discipleship ministry. I don’t suppose that strucutured discipleship or mentorship programs will accomplish a great deal right now, but I think we really need a change in our mindset about the family of God. All of us, myself especially included, need to step out of our personal comfort zones and take the initiative to be vulnerable enough to share what is on our hearts.
I shared this during a workshop at summer camp, and it is the theme verse for my church’s university fellowship this term:
Marks of the True Christian
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Romans 12:9-13 (ESV)
I do not have any answers about how to improve this dire situation of neglected discipleship and mentorship–except to just do it. Be a friend to somebody, and listen to what they have to say–like, really listen them! The first step is forward, into the lives of others… to consider somebody else’s needs before ours; to regard their lives as even more important than our own. May we pray for each other as we serve and build each other up: for the truth, for the church, for the world, for the glory of God.
Let’s show the world that we are His disciples by loving each other 🙂