Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I realize this is a delicate subject.

I am part of a group that is looking at our youth ministry space and making design recommendations for updates and improvements. We technically don't have a space besides regular classrooms. It is hard for kids in a youth group to see the mega churches in their cities and only wish to have the facilities and on tap entertainment that they provide. My home is pretty and certainly nicer than the majority of the world's population will ever dream of. But herein lies the quandary. Today I have been plagued by this thought: how can we expect our kids to simplify, do with less, intentionally recycle, give extravagantly and at the same time be party to trying to "update" their space. These are extremes, I know. Yet the question will not leave my heart.

Personally, I feel like God is taking me on a journey of living with less. I am loving it. I feel like the economy is proving that storing away for a future that is uncertain is not a goal worthy of the kind of dedication and slavery that consumes so many lives. People have literally seen there nest eggs evaporate. Should we be responsible? Sure. Do I think that we should be giving and generous ahead of financial hoarding? Absolutely. There has to be something to the idea of "daily bread' given that Jesus speaks to it so often. God is not big on the Israelites storing for tomorrow either.

But honestly, this is hard. Our Christian culture looks very similar to the world in general when it comes to money and stuff and I am over that. I made a decision to not buy any new clothing or anything decorative for my home for this year. It has required me just not going to stores. In certain stores I just avoid those departments. But it is hard. And this is just one small area. Now this is not just about doing with less, it is about enjoying and appreciating what we have. A hard discipline really.

So while I have these challenging areas in my life that God is trying to grow me in I am also faced with the youth space issue. What to do?


WendyC said...

Arlene, I guess it comes down to why the space is being upgraded. If it to make it more useable or enable better interactions, then that's useful. If it will serve as a means to attracting more unchurched kids, that's useful too.

jeleasure said...

Hi Arlene,
I have not heard from you in reply to some of my comments. You are busy.

Any way, what I want to say to your dilema is, 'We just were not made for stuff'. In fact, I envy those third world countries who live in huts and simple clothing. They are the last of what God intended for us to be.

Do you see the birds of the air and the lilly so adorned with splendor? The bird does not worry for where its food comes from nor does the lilly inquire of its raimnant. God provides for them.
(This is a paraphrase, incase you have not recognized it). In our modern society, we our outside of the system of provissions God has already put in place for our bennefit. In fact, if I wanted to hunt my food, I would need a license and my game of choice would need to be in "season".

The way we choose to live in society has grown beyond recovery to what God has already provided. Now, we have to always be in prayer for what God will do to provide for us.

I'm sure, your ideas here are not as delicate as you thought. Basically, to be quite fragile, as I risk criticism, society is not the same as community.

I define society as being made of individuals. Where as, community is putting others needs ahead of our own. In this way, we all should have someone looking out for us as we look out for others. This seems impossible.

So, yes. What to do with the quandry?

Maybe we should begin by explaining to the children and young people we minister to, that God did not intend for things to become so complex. That was human doing that began as a means to provide for another's greed. Maybe we should focus on simplicity. But, then we lose in a kind of worldly competition as to how we bring Christ to the young.

I used to think I was pro-emergent Church. That was due to the definition, "A loosely connected group of Christians, always seeking new ways of bring Christ to the world". (something like that from Wikipedia)

Anyway, If I pray how will my prayer be answered? Should I sell my truck and be a one car family, to begin with? That only puts me at a disadvantage with the society around me.

I think this is the answer; young people would much rather go to see a movie than to sit in a church service. So, we have to compete, because young people just don't understand the need for simplicity.

thekingpin68 said...

'Personally, I feel like God is taking me on a journey of living with less. I am loving it.'

Hello Arlene,

I have had to take this journey as a full-time student with four degrees.

I would like to have more money and possessions, but I have learned to very much appreciate what I have and my friends and family that have helped me.

Thank God.


jeleasure said...

Hey Russ,
Vicki and myself are attempting to live on less and have less. Our current limit is $400.00 per month. We will see if we can do this (after paying bills, ofcourse)

preacherman said...

I want you to know that you are in my prayers sis. Alway in my thoughts and prayers before God on your behalf. I know it is hard to remember that God provides in hard times. It is all about faith. I have learned that through all of my suffering, illness, pain and financial trials over the last three years. I struggle and strive to remember God's goodness. God's mercy, grace, salvation, and that he can do more than we can ever ask or imagine. I hope on to hope because without hope life is meaningless. I hope this helps. I am not trying to preach to you at all. I care. jI enjoy reading your posts when I can.