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Devotionals

The Pews have to go

A student survey conducted at one of our local schools determined that young people see the church as being full of old people and pews. And they think that the pews have to go. There’s some good news in that survey, they didn’t say the old people should go, only the pews.

Think for a moment: How does their perception match reality?

We might immediately begin to defend the pews. They've been good enough for generations. They keep us awake. They haven’t killed anyone.

Or we might be offended that they’ve labelled us as old. We might argue that we’re not nearly as old as our grandparents were at the same age.

We might want to join James and John to ask Jesus whether we should call down fire from heaven and destroy them.

But before we get too defensive, these young people are crying out for the church to recognise and value them. They don’t think the church cares about them, they don’t think we care. They think the church is only interested in the people who’re already involved, which to them means old people.

I wonder whether they’re any different to those of any age who aren’t connected to our churches. Would the whole ‘unchurched’ and previously-churched’ community agree that we don’t care. Would they contend that we’re only interested in ourselves.

If we’re so busy polishing and defending our pews then they have to go. If there’s anything in our church that uses up our time at the expense of living our lives for Jesus then it has to go.

Even more urgently we have to go. Not leave the church, the community of God’s people, but go with the good news that because God loves and cares for every single person in this world so do we.

“As you go”, Jesus says, “make disciples of all nations.” Jesus cares about this because he has ‘skin-in-the-game’. He died for each and every one we encounter as we go about our lives.

How do we, as individuals and a church, need to change so that no one in our community will feel that we don’t care about them?

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