I’m a Christian. I grew up in the Methodist Church. I spent my high school and college years as a believer but didn’t attend any church regularly. I started going to a non-denominational a couple years ago. I wanted to get to know other Christians, particularly ones my own age (ie twentysomethings). Too bad nobody told me they don’t exist. Or at least they don’t seem to be in the churches. Or maybe they just aren’t in the churches I’ve attended.
I know some people who go to the local mega church so I decided to see what that was all about. I felt like I was at a concert not a church. Now, I’m not saying a church has to have stained-class windows and wooden pews and rotting carpet and old-people smell but this was set up in a hotel and you had to wind your way through several hallways to find the “sanctuary.” I would probably still be there if my friend who attends there regularly hadn’t gotten me through that labyrinth. Everywhere you looked there were flashy signs and all these different rooms. I’m still not sure what all of them were for. Certainly not anything as mundane as prayer or Bible study. This is mega church after all. I do know what one was for. It was the “Overflow Room.” Not as ominous as it sounds. It was for the people who got up to go to the bathroom during the service. Yeah, they don’t let you back in. I may be the only one but that kind of restriction and rule setting really breaks down the feeling of community.
The pastor isn’t there by the way. He’s in some other part of the state and you watch him via satellite on the big screen. That’s another thing that bothers me. It makes me feel removed from everything somehow. The size and scope of it all makes me feel like I’m being kept at arm’s length. And I realize they are reaching a lot of people that way and that’s great. Call me old fashioned but I thought that church was a place like-minded (and hearted) people got together to have a community and friendship. This just seems like more media. Watch the pastor on TV, just have them debit your bank account for your tithe and that’s it. No interaction. They do offer smaller groups and have events to get people together but I’m an introverted person. I’m not great at busting up in somewhere and making a party. It works for some (and maybe a lot considering the size of these things) but there’s an intimacy that I crave in a church.
But I digress. I’m wondering why young people like myself aren’t seen very much in the church. Are they all at the mega church getting another media fix or are they simply uninterested? Have they turned away from God or do they work jobs where they often have to work on Sundays and never have a chance to attend regularly? A disturbing thing I see is all the younger people at church are couples. Where are all the freaking young SINGLE people? My mother told me she’s heard many young people over the years say things like, “When you’re married then you go to church.” Really? So partying until all hours on a Saturday night is more important that doing God’s work? Church is only acceptable when you’re old and married and have stretch marks and maybe a divorce? Is church considered “uncool”? That’s very disheartening to me. I want to find other people like me (and a husband by the way) but I guess I’m not going to find them in the church.