It is interesting being 29. Some people say I am really old (my teens), and some people say I am really young (everyone else). I have some perspective in life, but still have much of my life to live. It is a great time to think about my future. It is a great time to figure out what my legacy will be. It is not a scary process. It is an exciting process. After all, I am not worried if God is going to come through.
My whole generation right now is thinking about that monumental question. Contrary to what much of the world thinks, we are not as self-centered as we may seem. We really do want fulfillment. We really do what to help. We really do want to make a lasting impact. To me, there is no better place to find all of that than within a church. But, before many in my generation dive into the life of the church, they have to ask themselves this very honest question.
What kind of church would we be serving in?
I look at a church that I love, but for the most part is completely missing the mark in ministering to my generation. I mean really, if you go into 95% of all Catholic Churches, you will notice very few people from the ages of 16 to 30 and for good reason. There is no obligation to church in my generation; people attend if they feel it is worthwhile. And this is what they often experience: lack of hospitality, painful music, irrelevant homilies…it depresses me just thinking about it. But it also makes sense why very few young adults decide to engage with the Catholic Church.
I see a generation that desperately wants to impact the world in a positive way, but finds it very difficult to do so in the Church’s current state.
Now before you argue with me, let me get those points out for you:
Yes, I know church is not about what you get out of it. It’s about the Eucharist.
Yes, I know that serving is all about the cross, not necessarily enjoyment.
Yes, I know you and your friends may be the exception. Perhaps that great church down the road is the exception too.
Yes, I know the church is guided by the Holy Spirit and is bigger than humans.
Yes, I know humans always fall short.
I get all of this and these sayings generally hold up until you talk to actual people. When you see your friends moving to a new city and struggling to find any church that resembles life: that hurts. When you minister to teens for four years and they go to college only to find a church that doesn’t care about them: that hurts. When you see members of your family not getting cared for by their church when they really need it: that hurts.
I guess you could say, “Well, Chris, that is exactly what you may be called to fix.” Maybe. But I need some help. The next revolution of our faith doesn’t need to come from organizations or worldwide events. It needs to happen in our parishes. Our parishes need to be places of life again. I want to be able to bring any of my friends to any parish around the world and be proud of what they will experience.
If that is the direction our church is going in, I can’t imagine being part of a better mission. Lets do this together.