Across N. America, the two largest groups of people who are reclaiming their faith are traditionally parents of little ones who are settling down and putting down roots – and those who are finding a different version of faith in a new community or expression.
Various labels are often assigned to this second group: unchurched, post-christian, or the ‘nones’. However one classifies this trend, this category is often populated by those who were raised in a fundamentalist, evangelical or even mainline tradition and have walked away.
The faith of their upbringing either doesn’t fit, doesn’t make sense or just isn’t useful anymore.
But then something happens.
The trigger may be a crisis or an unsatisfied hunger or the birth of child. Whatever initiates the change of season is not predictable. What is predictable, however, is that in a search for a community or church there is a tangible desire to connect with a vibrant but thoughtful expression of ones faith.
In my dual-role at the church, I am in a unique position to see both groups
- finding something lost
- connecting with something deep
- awakening to something new
There is something so refreshing and hopeful about finding a spiritual community where you can plug-in to ministries that are making the world a better place and you don’t have to check your brain at the door.
As the Minister of Children, Youth and Families I have seen dozens of young families tie into the life of the church community through the liturgical Sanctuary worship. It brings great joy to my heart to watch their little one get settled into the nursery, Pre-K or Sunday School routine and know that their child has a spiritual home that will nurture them and facilitate that child’s growth into a mature believer who can intelligently embrace a faith that will carry them for the rest of their life.
As the co-Pastor of the Loft I have heard dozens of stories from people who had walked away from faith and who have seen that faith resurrected in our unique environment filled with coffee, couches and conversation.
As someone raised evangelical, I confess that it makes my heart sing to hear stories of resurrected faith!
I don’t apologize for my inherited soft-spot toward stories of renewal and awakening.
Many people have stories of reclaiming their childhood faith but have no interest in continuing to hold onto childish ideas. Our faith is supposed to be child-like but the 21st century requires that it be thoughtful and vibrant.
Heading into Easter this year, I have been thinking about all of the young families who have dusted off their commitment to a faith community as well as those for whom faith had all but died, and how for both this Easter is going to seem especially meaningful.
It is an exciting time to be at a church that is committed to issues of justice, thoughtful in its approach and expanding its ability to connect with the community.
Whether it is an awakening of a dormant faith or the resurrection of something that had completely died, faith is being renewed in the life of the church.
We are an Easter people and that means we are always coming into new life.
I pray that you are as encouraged and excited as I am in the lead up to Easter.