I have talked to a lot of people during the last few week who have told me about the dechurced of tulsa…basically 20 somethings that have grown up in the church and left. There are a lot of issues around this of course, but for now im thinking about the church structures that make this happen. Part of this problem can be seen at Garnett Church of Christ. The church is great for families, but when it comes to 20 somethings not as much. Basically college students and 20 somethings dont have a great place to fit. Now…I have to say that overall I think there is a need for churches to have structures that make it so that everybody of every generation is plugged into real communities, and I think that ideally these communities should span generations. I have something to learn from people who have lived a bit more life then me. But I also recognize that sometimes what a 26 year old needs is not the same as a 45 year old with 3 kids.
Here is the next interesting part: In the last 2 weeks I have talked to 3 people staring churches for 20 somethings in Tulsa. One of the challenges of these churches is that they grow up. Eventually all there people get married and have kids, then they have the 20 something gap again.
Next interesting part: The Green Country Event Center is the location for 3 or so churches, including Garnett Church of Christ, and Doxa, one of the new churches for 20 somethings, are 2 of the 3.
Here is my random idea: what if churches stared adopting a model of always having a bunch of churches in one building. Kind of a church co-op. There could be some shared resources, but the bigger thing would be to create a culture of one body. So, if your family goes to the great family church but you are 23 you can go to the young hip church across the hall. Or somebody who goes to the young hip church and has a baby can put the baby in the childrens program at the great family church. I know this sounds like it would be like a big church that has several services for different demographics, but I think it is different. Garnett Church of Christ has its history and DNA. It will never be able to be Doxa. The mindset that forms Doxa is completely different. It would also be really cool if there was a really wide range of churches. What if a Catholic Church, A Bible Church, a Baptist Church, a young hip church, an Assembly of God church and 4 or 5 others for spice were all working together and learning how to share space, resources, and work together, it might go a long way towards helping people get over some denominational silliness.
Next Day Update ——————————
I have been thinking about this some. I still think this is an interesting idea. I think that sharing some resources and churches bumping up against each other all the time would be a good thing. Doing joint ministry would be even better. But I think that this: “I have to say that overall I think there is a need for churches to have structures that make it so that everybody of every generation is plugged into real communities, and I think that ideally these communities should span generations” is more important than I gave it credit for. One of the things I really appreciate about the church I grew up in was that it spanned generations. I learned a lot from hanging out with old people! So, creating a church community that somehow connects generations seems like a really good thing. It seems like there are 2 big things that it takes to do this: 1) My generation needs to get over its pickyness, need to be entertained and aversion to all things traditional. 2) The generations above us have to be open to new things, new styles of leadership and new types of community.