Our need to understand aspects of our current cultural context is a process of constant learning, as culture is of course a moving target. Rhett Smith recently offered a great post on what is known as the "Millenial" or "Y generation" in, What as the Millenial Generation all About?. Based on an interview with the authors of Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics, Rhett does all the vetting work for us and then offers some challenges for the PC(USA). He writes:
How does this impact ministry in a PC(USA) Church? Here are just a few take aways I got from this interview. Of course, every PC(USA) Church is not like this, but I’m painting with broad brush strokes at this point.
- The PC(USA) is a Top-Down, Command and Control organization. This structure and style of leadership I believe will push away this generation, and already has in many ways.
- The PC(USA) for years has been focused on and trying to answer the question of homosexuality, especially as it relates to ordination and the vows involved in being ordained. According to this generation this isn’t even a question. So why the denomination spends all of its time on this issue, it is considered a non-issue by the Millenials. This forces them away from the PC(USA) and into other church communities and denominations.
- The PC(USA) is a denomination based on decisions made by authority. But because of technology especially, Millenials bypass the decisions of authority and reach consensus within their own social circles.
- If the PC(USA) hopes to attract this generation through its doors, it will radically have to restructure its leadership, ordination procedures, vehicles of communication (especially with technology), etc.
Good stuff. These are some good challenges and questions to raise. I would also add the questions of discernment as we as a larger institution confront and are confronted by some of these cultural realities.
- What about the culture needs to be challenged? About what and when are we to be intentionally counter-culture? Who decides? How do we decide? Can differing worldviews decide together?
- Do we have the capacity to adjust, change, transform?
- How do we balance the needs of the Millenial generation with those of others in our communities, in particular, and how do we do a better job of bridging generations, generally?