So I had a visit to Hillsongs Church in Century City on Sunday, to see what is happening there and yes to worship God (just in case you think I am a heathen haha). I was pretty amazed and experienced a bit of a culture shock coming from a traditional Baptist church in a poor and crime ridden “coloured” area. Wow! I felt like I stepped into alternate universe. It was all pretty amazing.
Part of my reason was why are we (Baptist churches in this case) losing so many young people and young adults to the independent Christian churches and centres. It is always awesome to see the younger generations active in worship and committing their lives to Christ and I would have it at any church that preaches and practices the unadulterated Gospel message. But in relation to where I am I have to ask the question, are we doing anything wrong (and there are many things)? Or are they doing something right (and I saw plenty of things that made me understand what is so appealing)? And while I don’t want this to seem like an us versus them battle, for effective and relevant ministry these are questions one has to ask (I believe).
How can we (as Baptists) meet the needs of young people and not see the mass exodus from our churches? What are the questions that young people are asking that we are not even hearing (or are willing to hear)?
So i was at a modelling show of my niece who is eight years old and i cannot help but smile at the pure innocence of these kids but i have to wonder to what degree are we fostering an unhealthy self image or perspective for these kids?
What happens When one is chosen over the other as the winner? What message are we sending to our kids? You not pretty enough! You are not beautiful! You cannot compare to the person that won the competition.
Maybe I’m just reading too much into this (as i do acknowledge modelling as an industry and career much good has come from this) but as adults we need to consider the far reaching effects of what we promote and how we do it. We cannot encourage this type of negligence as adults and parents. Our kids have enough self esteem problems and unhealthy pictures and images of what is beautiful and popular to still compete for a place on the podium.
In the end my niece did not win and her response? “I feel sad! I don’t feel like a princess!” (I’ve added a picture of her, don’t you think she is just gorgeous? A true princess)
May God grant us wisdom as adults to nurture and protect our kids and not exploit or harm them.
Where do I go from here? That was a question that I had wrestled with for many years and it has come to an ear-shattering-all-time-high-volume for me about two months ago.
On the one hand a part of my journey has ended and yet at the same time another has begun but in the total scope it is just one continuous journey with many different stops along the way.
Each stop being unique and offering different challenges and tensions that whether I want to or not have to grapple with.
Challenges, tensions, threats, opportunities…
We evaluate our thinking, our choices, our lives.
We choose to change!
We are forced to change!
I have learnt that while I have control over my thinking and actions, I have no or little control over my circumstances. I cannot dictate how my circumstances should be or even would be and while it may sound like it is inevitable to live a life that is reactionary it is quite the contrary. Each time I make a decision, my circumstances change and each time my circumstances change I have to make another decision but while this dialogue continues, I have again been reminded that ultimately it is God who orders our steps.
It is God who is sovereign. He is in control. He is in charge and no matter how many decision we may make or how our circumstances may dictate and push us around, it cannot trump God. He is in control.
I have learnt that it is okay to not know all the answers. It is okay to not even know the questions. And so in the midst of my journey God assigns a new opportunity and while it has me anxious at moments, it leaves me humble. It leaves me grateful. It leaves me knowing that I have a God who is fighting my battles.
So here I find myself at the Cape Town Baptist Seminary…
And so the journey continues…