I’m in the business of broken hearts.
It’s a weird thing to say (and an even weirder thing to realize) but it’s true. Have you ever heard the expression, “If these walls could talk, the things they would say”? Well my office walls would have quite the stories. Stories of happiness, of laughter, of celebrations, of joy, and of contentment. But many of the stories would be about broken hearts.
These walls could tell you all about peoples’ insecurities, their sins, their divorces, their embarrassment, their secrets, and their addictions. Some of these stories would even be mine. My walls have seen more tears than can be counted, more shame than can be measured, and more broken hearts than any office should have to see. And I’ve only been here a year and a half.
I remember the first time I felt heartbroken. I couldn’t have been older than 4 and my family was watching a movie called “Snoopy Come Home”. If you haven’t seen this cinematic masterpiece I highly suggest it, but here’s the 30 second synopsis:
We find out, shockingly, that Snoopy had an owner before Charlie Brown, a young girl named Lila. She was forced to give him away but now she is in the hospital sick and she wants Snoopy to keep her company. So, the Peanuts Gang throw Snoopy a tearful goodbye party and he heads off to be with her.
I cried through the whole party scene. What could be more sad than having to give your puppy away? But unlike later heartbreaks, this one resolves in an hour and a half so I wasn’t too traumatized.
I remember my first heartbreak as a teenager, when a boy told me he would never date me because I was ugly. That one didn’t resolve as easily as Snoopy’s, and sometimes when I’m getting ready I still feel the sting of some 13 year old boy’s callous words.
I remember my most recent heartbreak, yesterday, when a high school student shared the hard life they are struggling with and there were no words to fix it or even make them feel better.
We don’t like to share these things about ourselves very often. It makes us feel week, unprotected, and pitied. So, we safety-pin what’s left of our hearts together, we plaster a smile on our face, and when people at church say, “How are you?” we respond, “Fine! How are you?” like it’s a part of the liturgy.
We don’t even like talking about heartbreak that much. We’re afraid that if someone shows us their broken heart our safety-pins may just pop open too. So, we all make a decision to stick with the script. We’re fine. Just fine. Thanks for asking. And when the news, our pastors, or even a friend forces us to focus on heartbreak we say, “How horrible! How terrible! What a world!” and secretly pray that no one brings it up again.
But we have an unscripted God. A God who understands broken hearts. And not just in a cold, scientific, “I’ve seen this in movies” kind of way; but in a real, hands-on, “I feel this everyday” kind of way.
John 11:35 is famous for being the shortest verse in most translations of the Bible. All it says is, “Jesus wept”. But the context around it gives so much power to these two words. One of Jesus’ closest friends had just died. This man’s sisters, who were also friends of Jesus, were in agony. They were grieving. They were heartbroken. And so was Jesus. So, He cried.
And this isn’t the only time in the Bible that Jesus cries. He cries in the Garden of Gethsemane, He cried before entering Jerusalem, and He cried on the Cross. And those are only the times that are recorded! Jesus is no stranger to tears, He too has dealt with the pain of a broken heart.
Maybe this part of Jesus doesn’t fit with your idea of who God should be. But it’s a very real part of who God is. He is a God who created the brokenhearted. He loves the brokenhearted. And yes, He has even been brokenhearted.
But He is also a God who has more in store for the brokenhearted. He doesn’t just leave us, hiding in the dark with our safety-pin hearts. He gives us the Gospel, the news of His death and resurrection, and through it He gives us hope.
It’s a hope unlike anything else on this Earth. A hope that pierces the grieving, the dismayed, the young, and the old. A hope that surrounds our safety-pin hearts, and one day will fully mend them.
Church, I don’t know what your hearts look like right now. I don’t know if you feel like you’ve got all the pain tucked away nicely or if you feel like your safety pins are about to pop. But I do know this, you have a God who loves you so much that no heartbreak can steal away your hope. Trust that promise. Trust that love. Trust that hope.
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13
Director of Christian Education
Brokenhearted and Hope-Filled
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
It’s not about me.”
That’s the name of the book my parents gave me when I was confirmed. It’s by Max Lucado and it was the “teen edition” of the book. They also gave me a beautiful ring that I still wear almost every day. And while that ring was instantly a hit with me, the book made its way to the bookshelf in my room and didn’t come off it for about a year. Because, let’s be real, the name isn’t exactly grabbing to a 13 year old. Especially when it seems like your parents are trying to passive-aggressively remind you of something (which is impossible, because I assure you that I was a gem of a 13 year old).
But then, the summer before I went to high school, I packed up and headed to Camp Okoboji, a Lutheran camp right on the lake in Okoboji, Iowa. I had gone to this camp every summer since I was two, but this summer would be different. This summer one of the leaders at the middle school camp asked me if I’d ever thought about being a Director of Christian Education, or DCE. I hadn’t, but the minute she said it I started to.
When I got home from camp that year, I was inspired to take Jesus a little more seriously than I ever had before. So, I picked up the only devotional book on my bookshelf, that one from Confirmation, and began reading.
I still have that book on my bookshelf. In fact, I’m looking at it right now. It has a poorly made friendship bracelet as a bookmark and it is highlighted beyond belief (I didn’t really understand the point of highlighting back then; it just felt like coloring). And in my very messy 8th grade handwriting there are all sorts of notes scribbled in the margins. Most of them are terribly embarrassing prayers that I would never in a million years share with you (listen, boys seemed really important back then) but occasionally there’s a note that reflects the beginning of a life-long lesson God is writing on my heart.
For instance, on page 32, right in the midst of all sorts of teenage angst, I wrote, “My purpose in life is to bring the glory of God to others”. Okay, so if we get nit-picky the theology is a little off. We don’t bring God’s glory to people, He works through us to show His glory to the world. But cut me a break. I was 14, people.
Maybe to you, that doesn’t seem like that big of a revelation. But let’s take a moment to think about what that really means. If reflecting God’s glory is our sole purpose in life, how does that change the way we act? How does it change how we think? Most importantly, how does it change how we love?
It’s clear that I didn’t totally get it back then. All of my prayers revolved around my wants, my needs, and the people I love (actually, if I’m being totally honest, that kind of sounds like my prayer life now). I was (okay, am) selfish. And I was beginning to realize it. On page 89 I wrote, “I get so wrapped up in myself that I act as if God can’t live without me. The truth is, I am only His messenger out of His kindness”.
That sentence, scrawled in a book by 14 year old Hannah, could have been written today by 22 year old Hannah and it would still be just as true.
Because naturally, we are selfish people. Remember Adam and Eve? They ate the fruit because they wanted to be just as smart as God. They were thinking totally about themselves, and humans have been following suit ever since.
I see it in our church all the time. People volunteer where they feel comfortable. Or they don’t volunteer at all. People avoid the hard discussions and uncomfortable moments. Families only talk about their faith on Sundays. And I can’t remember the last meeting I was in where getting someone to pray out loud didn’t feel like pulling teeth. And that’s not to call you all out. Because I do it too (see above confession). But what would our church look like if we embraced an, “Its’s not about me” mentality.
I think our small groups would be fuller, our prayer requests would be louder, and our service opportunities would be bursting at the seams. I think our hearts would collectively break for the pain of one member of our family and collectively celebrate with the joy of another. I think we’d stop talking about our church, our people, and our mission, and start talking about God’s church, the community God has placed us in, and God’s plan for us.
Church, we’ve got a lot of work to do. And it’s not always going to benefit us. Sometimes we’ll be called to heartbreak. Sometimes we’ll be called to sacrifice. Sometimes we’ll be called to vulnerability. God will work through all of these things, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to hurt. But you have a God so loving that He gave everything He is for you: very selfish, very stubborn you. The ultimate act of selflessness. An act we are called to imitate.
And no, you’re not going to do it perfectly. You don’t have to, Jesus has that covered. So why do it? Because God has so much more planned for you than you have planned for you. He tells you so:
“Truly, truly I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these they will do.” – John 14:21
How can you start living an, “It’s not about me” life? Try starting with this prayer:
“God, your will be done. Whatever that looks like, however painful or uncomfortable that may be. Change my heart Lord, so that I really mean these words: It’s not about me, it’s all about You.”
Director of Christian Education
Selfish Sinner, Selflessly Saved
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
Being single in the Christian church can be an isolating experience. Sometimes it feels like all of the ministries are either pointed at kids or parents. And any single Christian will tell you that most “singles” groups at churches feel more like a cover for church-approved speed dating. I know they mean well, but I’m going to pass on that one. But the hardest part about being single in the Christian church are the typical “singles” questions and comments well-meaning brothers and sisters in Christ say to you. I really believe they’re trying to be encouraging, but frankly, it’s the very opposite of that. Need some proof? Below is my list of 5 Things Every Single Christian Is Tired of Hearing (and yes, I really have heard every single one of these).
1. “So, is there anyone special in your life?”
Yeah, my parents have this great dog named Abednego and if I Skype them they’ll hold her up to the camera for me. Oh, you weren’t talking about my dog? Look, I know you’re just trying to get to know me, but there really are better questions you can start with. Here’s a few ideas that will help you get to know me: Where did you grow up? What’s your dream job? What brought you to this church/church event? What do you do in your free time? It’s not the question that I hate, it’s that it seems people always ask it before they ask anything else. It makes me feel like singleness is my main trait. God made me so much more than that, so please see me for who I am, not for who I’m seeing.
2. “If you wait and pray, God will bring you a husband/wife.”
I have a lot of personal experience with this one. And frankly, it’s just as insulting as it is wrong. Let’s start with the wrongness. God never promises that He’ll give us everything we pray for. And that’s a blessing! Sometimes the things we pray for are not best for us! There are great examples of how singleness can be God-pleasing in the Bible (hello Paul) so please remember that God’s plan and timing is different in everyone’s life. His plan may not include a husband or wife. Now moving on to the insulting part. If God has a husband planned for me, yay! Go God. But my life is not on hold until he comes around. I’m not Sleeping Beauty. God has plans and experiences and adventures for me right now. Marriage is a wonderful, beautiful, God-pleasing thing, but it is not the only wonderful, beautiful, God-pleasing thing. I’m living a Christian life right now. God is using me right now. Please don’t imply that I need a diamond ring before my life can really begin.
3. “So, when are you going to get married?”
If I knew, I’d tell you. I’ve never really understood why so many people ask this question. Do you think I’ve just had a personal chat with God and we both decided that it can wait till I’m 32? When Christians ask singles this question it once again implies that their life won’t really begin until they’re married. I know you don’t mean this (at least I hope you don’t) but you’re inferring it. And besides, I’ve talked to a lot of single Christians and none of us know how to answer when we are asked this.
4. “I have this grandson (/son/nephew/cousin/dogwalker)…”
Okay two main issues with this comment. #1 When I come to church or church events, I want to worship with you, pray for you, and spend time just being around fellow Christians. There’s a difference between worship services and Christian Mingle. As cool as your grandson/son/nephew/cousin/dogwalker sounds, when you try to set me up with him, it feels like you’re more concerned about my romantic life than you are about my spiritual life. That hurts. #2 What do you expect me to do with this information? Call him up and say, “Hey your grandma says you’re pretty awesome and also plagued by singleness, want to get married?” I know dating has changed a lot over the years, but I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t have been the best pick-up line in your single days either.
5. “Don’t you want to get married?”
The answer to this question is going to be different for every single person. I know some single Christians who really struggle with the fact that they haven’t found Mr./Mrs. Right yet and I know some single Christians who plan to be single the rest of their days. And then the rest of us go back and forth between contentment and longing every day. But when you ask this question, you have no idea where people are emotionally at. You’re asking us to justify a status because it feels like the answer should be public knowledge. If a single Christian wants to talk to you about where they’re at with their singleness, they will. Don’t force someone to have a conversation with you that could be an emotionally touchy subject if they’re not ready too. It’s their relationship status, and it’s just another question that makes single Christians feel like they’re an anomaly.
This post isn’t intended to make you feel like a horrible, judgmental person if you’ve said one of these things. It’s just intended to remind us all that our words can be very isolating if we’re not careful about what we say. I know my church family cares about me and only wants the best for me, but sometimes it feels like they care more about my relationship status than me as a person. Let’s not let single Christians slip away from the church just because we haven’t thought about how what we are saying may sound. I love you Church, and I am loved by you Church. Let’s make sure all of our brothers and sisters, single or not, feel that way too.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
Director of Christian Education
Single (but so much more than that) Christian
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
One of my all-time favorite movies is Sabrina, with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. To this day, I can’t watch that movie without dreaming of a pretty dress, a handsome man, and a trip to Paris that inspires it all. And while a girl can dream, the chances of me marrying a billionaire business-mogul who hosts Saturday night soirees just so we can sip champagne and dance underneath the stars isn’t super likely (however if you know a single gentleman who fits that description, I’m free this weekend). I totally understand that Sabrina is just a movie – a directed, dialogued, rehearsed movie – but I still find myself getting caught up in the fantasy that that’s what love should look like. But it’s not, is it?
In reality, love is messy. It’s fighting about finances because you both just want to give the kids the best life they can. It’s attending your sibling’s graduation ceremony even though you’re pretty sure the main speaker has never publicly spoken in their life. It’s helping a friend move to a new house. It’s doing loads upon loads of laundry and sink upon sink of dishes. 98% of the time love is the most unglamorous, anti-Hollywood actions. Love isn’t perfect monologues and European vacations; it’s moments no one ever spends time daydreaming about. Love is messy, tedious, and surprisingly ordinary. And it’s also your God-given calling.
Jesus understood what love is perfectly. He didn’t form relationships with people just to ask, “But what am I getting out of this?”. He gave everything He could to people who couldn’t give a thing back. He jumped head first into unspectacular tasks without every expecting a pat on the back. He washed feet, fished for food, and hung around people deemed “unclean” by the world around them. And He did all this purely out of love. Not a pretty, edited version of love. A real roll-up-your-sleeves, this-could-get-messy type of love. The type of love that can leave you exhausted physically and emotionally. And He calls us to do the same.
Living as a Christian means loving like Jesus. It means taking the high road when no one else will. It means doing the tasks no one else wants to do. It means humbling yourself so that service becomes a lifestyle, not a special event. And it means doing all of this with a joyful heart. It’s not easy or pretty and no one’s every going to make a movie about it. But if we really believe that we have a God who loves us so much that He sacrificed His son for us, shouldn’t that inspire us to make some sacrifices too? I suggest we start with our pride, vanity, and Hollywood version of love. I think we may just find that God’s version – as messy as it is – is a whole lot better.
Last Saturday not one handsome billionaire asked me to come dance with him. No one delivered a perfect monologue about how stunning I looked underneath the moonlight. No one poured me a glass of champagne while we watched fireworks in the distance. But my roommate vacuumed my bedroom because she knew I was busy. It’s not Hollywood love, but it’s Jesus love and I wouldn’t trade it for the world (or even for Humphrey Bogart).
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
This past spring, I graduated from Concordia University Chicago (let’s go Cougars!) with my bachelor’s degree in Christian Education.
The truth is, I definitely didn’t want to walk at my graduation ceremony. They’re long and boring and all-around not my favorite event. But mom and dad seemed to think it was important (and they helped fund the whole educational endeavor) so on May 6th I donned the traditional (and altogether hideous) cap and gown and found my place in line amid my graduating peers (I know you’re all picturing me as the quiet and devoted daughter, but I assure you I voiced my fair share of complaints about the whole situation).
This ceremony was not my parents’ first graduation rodeo. In fact, I suspect that all together the ever-patient Steve and Linda Hayden have attended upwards of 20 graduation ceremonies in their lives. That’s a lot of uncomfortable bleachers and “motivational” speeches. Bless their supportive souls.
But as much as I kicked against the nostalgia and cliched sense of empowerment that graduation is meant to inspire, as I sat down in my designated seat that Saturday morning, I couldn’t help but spend some time reflecting on the transitional state my life is in. And as happy as I am to be working my dream job in a wonderful town, I still felt a little scared.
Change is hard. It’s not a new lesson or a unique thought. As an educator, I see it in the little kiddos as they beg their parents not to make them meet a new Sunday School teacher and I see it in high school seniors when the question, “So what are you doing next year?” strikes fear into their eyes. It’s not just the younger believers who struggle with this fear either. As an adult, your family is constantly changing before your eyes. People grow and they make mistakes. The people who 10 years ago you swore would always be a part of your life may not be anymore. The person you are today could be drastically different tomorrow. And that uncertainty is a scary thing no matter how old you are.
Our whole life is transitional. Every day is new and has new challenges and joys in it. We celebrate the happy transitions (graduations, weddings, baptisms, retirements, etc.) and we mourn that hard transitions (job loss, funerals, divorces, etc.). And through all the change that life brings we may find ourselves asking the age-old question, “Where’s God when I’m scared?” (cue Jr. Asparagus singing ‘God is Bigger Than the Boogeyman’).
But friend, let me assure you that you are not the first person to ask this question. Remember Jesus’ disciples? You know, the people who actually saw Him do all the amazing things we read about? They doubted too. Even as Jesus was ascending to heaven the Bible says, “when they saw Him they worshiped Him, but some doubted” (Matt 28:17). They doubted that the church could go on without
Him. They doubted Jesus would still be with them, even when He left this earth. They doubted they could survive this drastic of a change.
So what does Jesus do? He looked down at these disciples and He saw me, sitting nervously in a silly cap and gown. And He saw the family that’s changing because of a heart-breaking divorce. And He saw the high school senior who dreads the question, “What are you doing next year?”. And the little kid who hates meeting new people. And the new parents holding their new little baby. And He saw you, and whatever change, good or bad, you’re scared of. He saw all of us, unsure of the future in this ever-changing world and He said, “Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”.
Yeah change is, and always will be, hard. And changes never end, which means life is always going to be a little scary. But we have a God who is more amazing, more unchanging, more loving than we can even comprehend. And He’s with us today, tomorrow, and for the rest of time. So take heart church, the changes you’re facing right now may seem big but your God will always be bigger. And He’s with you now and forever, even to the end of the age.
All My Love,
Former Scaredy-Cat (okay, still kind of a scaredy-cat)
Current Director of Christian Education
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
One year ago, the extent of my baseball knowledge was as follows:
There are four bases and the movie “The Final Season” is an underrated cinematic masterpiece (seriously, go watch it). But as I drove into a brand-new town where I knew absolutely no one, I saw Fox Cities Stadium out my car window and decided to become a fan of the class A Timber Rattlers.
Why? Well, truth be told, it seemed like something to do. At the time, I was not positive I was going to make any friends (apparently, we don’t grow out of that worry, it just no longer revolves around a cafeteria) and I figured going to a baseball game alone was a little better than sitting in my apartment alone.
Luckily, God had me covered on the friend front and soon enough the ever-patient Shannon Meeks and Erin Klein would be answering my baseball questions at many a game (many other baseball fans and friends deserve some recognition for answering my questions but Shan and Erin definitely got the brunt of them).
Now, as the above story testifies, I am the opposite of a baseball expert. But I do know a little bit about Jesus and His church, and I couldn’t stop seeing the comparisons. So here it goes. Hannah’s list of what baseball taught me about living a Christian life.
1. There’s always something you don’t know.
I’ve asked a lot of baseball questions. A lot. And most of them are pretty simple (listen, I’m a novice, cut me a break). But occasionally, I’ve had the pleasure of asking a question that stumps my baseball-savvy friends. In those moments, I had to keep asking (sometimes Google, mostly my dad) until I found the answer. The same thing happens in our faith. If you think you have every inch of God’s plan figured out, you’re not thinking hard enough. Questions aren’t a sign of stupidity, they’re a sign of someone who’s thinking. So, ask the faith questions. Even the simple ones. They’re important and they’re a sign that you’re using the brain God gave you.
2. Every batter strikes out. Even the best batters in baseball history have struck out before. One day a batter is at the top of his game, and the next game he can’t seem to get on plate. When this happens, devoted players don’t suddenly decide they hate baseball and give up. They talk to coaches and managers and figure out what they need to adjust. The same thing can happen in our faith life. One year, or month, or day you can feel totally firm in your faith walk and the next day you suddenly feel lost or unconnected. When this happens (and it will) don’t give up on God. Talk with a Pastor, DCE, or Christian friend. It may not be as simple as adjusting your swing, but God has placed those people in your life to help you through the tough times. Even if you’re not so sure why the times are tough to begin with.
3. It’s easy to be a fan when everyone is rooting for the same team.It’s not hard to be a Brewers fan when you live in Wisconsin. Every weekend in church there is someone sporting Brewers merchandise and all you have to do is mention the Brewers to start a conversation during baseball season.
Sure, they don’t always have a stellar season, but you’re definitely not alone in your enthusiasm or, in the tougher times, your despair. It’s a lot harder to be a fan of a team that everyone around you hates.
The same is true in our Christian life. We are absolutely blessed to live in a nation where Christians enjoy enormous privileges and freedoms, but there are still times when living a Christian life can make you feel very alone. That’s why God emphasizes the importance of community in Scripture. Church isn’t just another thing to do on Sundays, it’s a safe-haven when everyone else seems against you.
4. You can have all the baseball knowledge in the world and it won’t make you Babe Ruth. Now I am not saying knowledge is a bad thing (see point number 1). But one of the main differences between being a sports fan and being a Christian is that in sports it’s okay to just be a spectator.
There are tons of fans who could talk to you for hours about the mechanics of batting but, when it comes down to it, how many of them could hit a Nolan Ryan fastball? Not many. And that’s okay in baseball. But in our faith God calls us not just to have the knowledge, but to do something with it. We have to apply Biblical teachings in our life every day. Don’t know how? That’s where our Christian communities (read church) come into play once again. Talk to a leader, we’ll help you figure it out!
5. “The old-timers say that baseball is the only game where the objective is to get home, kid” – Coach Jim Van Scoyoc, The Final Season.
At the end of the day, every team is just trying to get players home. Isn’t that the truth behind our faith journey too?
Living a Christian life all stems from the knowledge that no matter how tough life is, at the end of it all we’re going home to be with God. I can’t think of a more beautiful way to end the game. Sure, you might make some errors along the way, but unlike baseball God isn’t marking them down. We have a God who has already won the game. And if heaven seems a long way off to you, have no fear, we have a temporary home here on Earth. Can you see where I ‘m going with this? That’s right --- your church family!
This isn’t a plea to fill our seats on Sunday mornings; it’s a reminder that you have a team that knows what it’s like to make a few mistakes. We’re still cheering you on and we’ll be your home until you reach your eternal reward.
So get home kid, Jesus is waiting for you.
Director of Christian Education
Avid, Yet Often Confused, Baseball Fan
A millennial perspective on who millennials are and how our church is pushing them away.
As a 22-year-old church worker I’m used to talking with people about “millennials”. It’s the current buzzword in our church body and it seems like everyone wants a piece of the conversation. The term “millennial” or the “millennial generation” describes people born in the 1981-1997(ish) time frame, although most conversations I’ve heard use it incorrectly as a general description of anyone below the age of 35(ish). This generation is a generation that seems to be largely missing from our church body (if you don’t believe me, look around our church next Sunday and send me your tally of how many 20-somethings you see). But why are they gone? It’s not a simple question and I can’t give a simple answer, but I do believe there are simple steps we can all take to make our church a more inviting place for this generation.
If I’m being completely honest, I’ve never been a part of a positive conversation about millennials. Most conversations are usually about how they are needy/whiny/spoiled/cynical (and the list goes on and on). The closest thing I’ve ever heard to a positive remark is something along the lines of, “they sure know how to work technology and social media” although it’s usually followed up by, “but they spend all of their time on it!”. But here’s the thing, I’m a millennial! And I do take offence to what you’re saying. Because even if you are thinking of me as an “exception”, you’re still using broad, negative terms to describe my siblings, friends, and peers.
And from my perspective, there’s a lot of good that has already come from my generation. If you want examples, let me tell you about my older sister, who works tirelessly to produce an honest, unbiased news cycle as a journalist. Or let me tell you about my brother and both of my college roommates, who have devoted their lives to being a positive force in a broken education system. Can you hear me getting defensive? And this is coming from a girl who feels very comfortable in your church. Now how do you think these stereotypes would make me feel if I was already uncomfortable in a religious setting?
You see, I think most of these stereotypes stem from a perspective issue. Maybe you just don’t get where people my age are coming from. So let’s do some perspective comparison! Bear in mind that these are based off my experiences and my conversations, other people may have a different viewpoint.
Am I saying that my generation is without fault? Of course not! The world is made up of sinners, and I am chief of them. What I’m saying is when Jesus looks at me, he doesn’t see my sins or the sins of my generation. He sees the empty cross and the empty grave. As a church, we should strive everyday to do the same. The next time you hear yourself or your peers begin to stereotype any group, ask yourself how you would feel if you heard members of your church talking about you that way. Would you feel welcomed? Would you feel loved?
When I was talking with family and friends about how the word “millennial” annoys me because of the connotations it carries, they began to jokingly refer to it as the “m” word, just like young children refer to other swear words. Let’s not let our own perspective turn a people group into a negative thing. Let’s see others as Christ sees us and let our language, especially in church, reflect that. See me for me, church. Not for my generation.
Director of Christian Education and Proud Millennial
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
Saturday 5:00 p.m. Blended Contemporary
Sunday 8:00 a.m. Traditional
Sunday 9:30 & 10:45 (Contemporary)
N1615 Meadowview Dr, Greenville, WI 54942
Monday thru Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm during the school year.
(closed on holidays)
8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday thru Thursday, and 8:00 am to 12:00 noon on Fridays