What Would You Like To Say?

August 12, 2019

12:17

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Reporting from the LIFE Conference in Orlando, John asks students, “What would you like to say to the current leaders of the American church?” Surprised and moved by their responses, he concludes, “I’m reminded it matters—it matters what we do. Let’s keep going!”

Transcript

John Stumbo:
Alliance family, I’m back in Orlando this time for LIFE Conference, an event that was hugely impactful in my own teenage journey, and for this video blog rather than me doing all the talking, I’m going around asking teens a single question, “What would you like to say to the current leaders of the American church?” You know that I deeply value the Alliance family that I inherited as a leader, and I want to pass off an even stronger C&MA ministry. And let’s see what the current teens would like to say to those of us in leadership.

Speaker 2:
I don’t really think they’re doing that bad. I just kind of like it.

Speaker 3:
My church does a great job of just lifting up our youth and encouraging them.

Speaker 4:
It’s a great loving family, like I feel welcomed and loved and it’s just amazing.

Speaker 5:
You’re doing pretty great right now.

Speaker 6:
I appreciate the work that they put into the sermons and worship and stuff because I think that’s like a big part . . . I love worship and I love singing and I love doing all that stuff. So I appreciate that.

Speaker 7:
I have got so much support from all my pastors and everything that I am so thankful for all of them.

Speaker 9:
Keep it up. Keep, you know, trying to reach more people. Just try to bring more people to the church that are different.

Speaker 10:
Thank you to my church family for always pushing me to be the best Christian that I can be for them. Putting me through a lot of struggles and making me go through uncomfortable places to help push me to become a missionary for other people to learn about Christ, like I did.

Speaker 11:
Every little detail there—they’re in your life and they’re there to help you, and it’s an amazing thing of the church.

Speaker 12:
So I want to thank them and tell them that they’re doing such a wonderful job and that we love them very much. And we’re, in our church, we’re very much as a family and I think that’s just something very special.

Speaker 13:
I love the way that they lead us and guide us through the path of life and how they’re always there for us to support us no matter what we’re going through. So basically—keep it up. They’re doing an amazing job, and I can’t wait to see what they’re going to do next.

Speaker 14:
Community is one of the most important parts about church, and you can believe in Jesus with all your heart, you can believe in the Lord, but if you don’t have community within the Lord, that’s one of the first steps.

Speaker 15:
Go talk to someone random in your church. I could go up to someone random in my church and be able to talk and have a conversation with them instead of just staying with the same group of people.

Speaker 16:
We’re making a difference in the world, but in order to make like a huge impact in our community and just like overseas and all that, I feel like we should . . . be able to unite with each other and work together because when we’re not united, we end up going into . . . arguments and people look at us from the outside and they’re like, “Oh, that’s just a fighting church, and I don’t want to be a part of that.”

Speaker 17:
To feel more united as a church as one instead of like separate congregations doing their own thing.

Speaker 18:
The Church is the people. So if we are all strong in the Lord, then we can be the Church anywhere.

Speaker 19:
We’re so united, and I’m having most of my family in the worship. It’s given me more opportunities to really, like, share and express who I am and express my gifts and express my love for Him and that I can really do that there.

Speaker 20:
When it comes to community, there’s a lot of accountability and a lot of pushing each other to see more of God’s work in each other’s lives. And you know, God literally calls us to community as well. And you have to take that personally, too. I just don’t see, I don’t think [in] a lot in American churches—and not particularly the C&MA—a lot of Christ-centered leaders or students, a lot of them just kind of go through the motions.

Speaker 21:
We’re brothers and sisters and we don’t act like that on Sunday morning. We act like, you know, these strangers just sitting in the pew or chair beside each other and like it’s not a family setting.

Speaker 22:
I wish I could get to know people of multiple generations more and do different activities as a church like family— because a family isn’t made up of just teenagers or just kids or just adults. It’s made up of the church and it’s made up of every generation involved.

Speaker 23:
For our church, I don’t think we’re getting as involved in the community as we could, like not implementing. I think we have this idea like, “Oh yeah, let’s go out and help our community,” but we’re not actually doing that.

Speaker 24:
I don’t think we’re reaching enough people. There’s a lot of people out there that don’t get the Church, and we need to send more people out to go minister to them.

Speaker 25:
You should try more community outreach.

Speaker 26:
Bring more youth to our church because we have, like, a lot of . . . an older population in our church. So I would definitely just reach out to all the schools because I think it’s important for kids my age, especially, to go to church because they don’t really know. They just think, “Oh, I’m too cool,” or something like that.

Speaker 27:
I believe that we need to do a better job of explaining how to do this instead of saying, “Don’t do that.” Because then if we were just suddenly saying, “Don’t do that,” we’re not going to do it, but then how are we going to react when a certain situation comes our way that we may not know how to react to?

Speaker 28:
Some church leaders could, I think to the general public, they kind of sound like, in my opinion, motivational speakers with a band behind them, right. I feel like sometimes the messages can be a little  . . . elementary. If they could, you know, go deeper, dive deeper into the Bible, I think that’d be more enjoyable for me. I want to be able to reach a point in my life when I’m talking to, like, a non-believer and they ask me . . . they can throw any question on me and I’ll be, like, I know that I’m well-secured and I have the right equipment and like the right tools to be able to . . . answer their questions. And I want to be, like, secure that I know that my pastor and my church leaders can do that for me instead of just giving me . . . the same, you know, same old, same old . . .

Speaker 29:
It’s really important to check in with the young, the youth, and to really get to know how they’re doing with their walk and how they’re doing emotionally in their personal lives because sometimes they’re going through a tough time and they’re not sure what to do and they don’t know if they could look to God or look to their pastors or their leaders. The youth, in my opinion, like they try to have like a mask. They like to hide their true selves behind something. But on the inside, we don’t know what’s going on, and we would like to know that—and depression’s a huge thing.

Speaker 30:
Everyone is different. The way we learn, the way that God helps us is different than other people learn and sometimes we might need different help for different questions to be answered than other people would.

Speaker 31:
Just like, listen to us more rather than, like, immediately doling out advice.

Speaker 32:
I don’t think the church always realizes that nowadays’ problems for teenagers are different than what they were in the past, and it’s hard to like face the problems nowadays instead.

Speaker 33:
I think dedicating time to the students and getting on a more personal level with a relationship of friendship with them, that’d be definitely helpful.

Speaker 34:
Adults can learn from kids just like kids can learn from adults.

Speaker 35:
Make things easier to understand, like, not for adults, but towards teenagers, too.

Speaker 36:
Sometimes, the way that churches can teach is like a way that teens can’t really understand.

Speaker 37:
They mainly connect to the adults and I’ll be sitting there like understanding, but, like, trying to find a way how I can connect.

Speaker 38:
I really think the Church needs to say, “We want you and we want you to make a difference.”

Speaker 39:
You know, the church always says, “Oh, we’re so loving and accepting of different people,” but then behind closed doors they’re talked about and judged.

Speaker 40:
Like my dad works out of the church and stuff and they’re always, like, preaching . . . “love everybody.” Like everybody was made in God’s image, and then they judge people that are themselves . . . not just like sexuality, like piercings or your clothes—or just anything. And they’re . . . they can be really rude about it and it’s like they’re just not accepting at all.

Speaker 41:
When Jesus was here, and we’re supposed to follow Jesus’ example when He walked on earth, He didn’t care if they were lepers, if they were prostitutes and tax collectors. In that time, lepers are put into camps and tax collectors weren’t talked to as much, and I think that nowadays, a lot of people have biases against other people. We need to put those biases aside for a little bit and focus on getting to the person and reaching the person, versus judging the person for who they are and what they are before Jesus.

Speaker 42:
I think certain people get too caught up in, like, the appearance or the rules, I don’t know and they don’t see that where it just like loving God and rejoicing. A lot of people see, like, the judgment of Christians and we think that . . . shouting from a distance at these people, just saying . . . “I’m a Christian” is going to make them like see that you know we have the right way, but it doesn’t, and we have to focus on loving more, getting closer.

Speaker 43:
A lot of people worship in different ways. I personally don’t enjoy singing that much and so standing in front of the church congregation and singing, it’s just really awkward and uncomfortable to me. So I kind of feel like a lot of the things could just be, like, if they made it optional or there wasn’t as much pressure and they were like, “Everyone stand up or, like, you’re just a sinner.” If I sit down and I don’t sing, everyone just looks at me funny, but if I stand up and sing, then I feel like I look funny and I’m just uncomfortable.

John Stumbo:
We’ve just completed dozens of interviews with random students that we just grabbed out of the hallways. Many were too nervous to even do it, but you’ve heard from some of those who engaged. There’s a profound appreciation for the Church that I didn’t fully anticipate. I’m sure that we will have to cut many comments from this video collage of all the appreciation; you’ll hear some of it, but they’re over and over and over. They were thanking, thanking, thanking. I would ask to probe for, “Give me some challenges. Give me some criticisms. Give me some concerns.” You’re investing in their lives. You’re giving yourself to them. You’re giving them a community they know they would not otherwise have.

John Stumbo:
Man, with nearly 6,000 students and student leaders this week, I’m reminded it matters—it matters what we do. It matters that we say faithful to the authority of the Word of God. It means it matters that we stay authentic in our own spiritual relationship. It matters that we stay filled with the Holy Spirit and walk in integrity, and it matters that we invest that life into a community of believers in a local church because this generation is feeling the benefit. They’re just grateful for what they’re receiving at this moment, and so let’s not grow weary in well-doing. Be steadfast, unmovable, abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. We will reap a harvest if we do not give up. You know the promises, but I’m moved again in my spirit, by hearing these testimonies and challenges to us, to say, “We’re doing a good work. It matters. Let’s keep going.”

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