Christians and Ageism
I’ve noted before how Christians tend to be very ageist, particularly when it comes to unmarried individuals. Most churches and Christian organizations expend the most time, money, effort and concern on singles under the age of 30. If you are unmarried over 30, to most churches, you don’t exist.
(Someone on another blog suggested one reason – the real reason – many churches are so reluctant to allow divorce or to minister to singles or divorced people, is that unmarried people likely do not contribute tithes as often.
Married couples who work have two incomes to tithe off, but when they divorce, one of them will leave that church, which makes one less tithe for that church. I thought this was an interesting idea and probably correct. Most preachers these days are more concerned with money (and control) than with the human beings sitting in their pews.)
I don’t understand why, but there is also a lot of concern by Christians of the fact that a lot of Christians drop out of church by the time they are age 18 to 20. So one will frequently see preachers having fits over this and forever plotting and scheming how to get the young folks back.
I saw a recent episode of Life Today where two hosts from a Christian group called “Teen Impact” were interviewed.
These guys explain that they send Christian athletes into grade schools to instill good values and so on.
The part that stood out to me was when the guy said people ask him why doesn’t his group visit high schools?
He said because it’s too late by then. They would rather focus on grade schoolers.
He went on to give an analogy to wet concrete. He says elementary age school kids are like “wet concrete,” very easy to influence and shape, middle school kids needed a stick to stir because they were beginning to dry, and the high school kids needed a jack hammer because they were already set.
I suppose if you are looking at things from strictly a pragmatic view, that makes sense, but it almost sounds like, “Screw the high school aged set because they are older and therefore harder to reach, so we will ignore them to go after the fourth graders.”
It is strange how the same group of Christians who claim to be concerned for youth (and who typically ignore older singles or their needs), can be discriminatory or lax towards even teenagers (those ages 15 to 19).
As for the Christians who make much hay out of the fact that teen children of Christian parents cease attending church by the time they are 18 or 20 years old:
Christ never said that the church body would be replenished by biological off spring of Christian parents.
In so far as churches can fix whatever is alienating to youth and driving them away from church, because the same factors may be alienating other groups from church attendance (such as unmarried adults over the age of 30, widowers, or homosexuals, or whomever else), fine.
But if this concern is motivated by the idea that the church can grow only, or primarily, by sons and daughters of Christian parents attending church services, this is not altogether a biblical view. The Bible says that Christians are to witness to un-saved non-family outside of the church, not to just flesh and blood family.
Churches should spend less time trying to re- evangelize the bored or put- off 20 year old son of Christian parents, and expend more energy meeting the needs of older church members, and reaching and evangelizing the Non-Christians in their community.
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