Took 10 teens to EYE - 8 from present diocese and 2 from ex-diocese. It was a fantastic experience to see how enthusiastic the teens are when allowed to worship with relevant upbeat music and engaging speakers. Our church WILL be changed but unless we push them all out, it will not die. The majority of the music was straight out of the '82 Hymnal with the tempo pushed up so that clapping and dancing could occur.
The most engaging of the speakers was Dr. Rodger Nishioka from Columbia Theological Seminary. I will admit that when I saw his bio stuff, I was afraid he would be someone who would talk about the teens, not to the teens. Wrong. He was gracious, authentic, relevant, sometimes irreverent, challenging, and inspiring. He had two other discussion sessions that were jam packed by teens and adults. His focus is teen/young adult ministry and he "gets" it. The main address is on youtube and I've linked it on my facebook.
After some time of reflection, I believe he personifies what our Evangelism professor taught us about what the next generation of Christians want. She said that they want leaders who are not afraid to tell their own stories, be excellent story tellers, be challenging. One of her main ideas was that the church was going to go through a "dark night of the soul" and emerge leaner and more authentic and radical than before. She truly believes that people want to be held to a higher standard and we, as a church, disappoint when we sugarcoat the Gospel. In my very few years of ministry now, I believe she's right - for those under 45-ish.
I'm wondering if there will be a rift that may be healthy. The 50-70 year olds seem to be holding the power and money in most congregations I know of... but the energy is with the under 45 crowd. Dr. Nishioka's scripture was Peter talking at Pentecost: "the young shall prophesy and the old shall dream dreams" - he focused on challenging the teens there to be prophets. What would happen if we challenged the older ones to support them financially in whatever they prophesy? What if the dreams and prophecies coincide?