The Table Podcast

Ministering to 13 to 34 year olds

In this episode, Dr. Darrell Bock, Dr. Jay Sedwick and Mark Matlock discuss emerging adulthood, focusing on ministry to 13 to 34 year olds.

Emerging Adulthood
  1. How Emerging Adulthood Affects the Church
  2. Ministering to 13 to 34 year olds
Timecodes
00:13
Equipping students to understand challenges to Christianity
05:01
The importance of allowing doubt in student ministry
07:58
The importance incremental persuasion in student ministry
11:45
Integrative and collaborative student ministry
16:23
Empowering students through vocational development
20:25
Emerging adults, incarnational ministry and missional goals
22:48
Addressing the perceived sacred-secular divide in the church
23:50
An intergenerational, community approach to discipleship
29:33
Christian discipleship is characterized by personal change
Transcript
Dr. Darrell Bock
So having done an unprecedented forty-minute introduction [Laughter]. I don’t think I’ve ever taken this long to lay the groundwork for a topic.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
How do you fix it? How do you fix it?
Mark Matlock
And you only have twenty minutes. [Laughter] Jay and I were trying to dodge that. Let’s just talk about how we got here.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
You know, the two of us could a lot of money if we had a very precise and concise answer to that question.
Mark Matlock
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Let me put it to you this way, because I understand that we’ve painted the dilemma pretty vividly I hope for people. So now what are the factors that need to be in play in order to even begin to draw on some of the issues that we’ve talked about? I’m not looking for a silver bullet here. I’m looking for really just some things that need to be out on the table that people need to think about as they think about ministry in this area and how to do it.

I’ll start off by mentioning one problem that we haven’t even raised that adds to our introduction and now elongates it to forty-five minutes. [Laughter]

Mark Matlock
Even longer.
Dr. Darrell Bock
And that is, I look at how we have not really prepared our kids, and I’ll say it that way, for the university experience. By what they’re going to hear about the Christian faith once they walk onto the college campus. It’s a huge black hole. We have tended to take an approach that says we’re going to insulate our kids from skepticism and doubt. We’re going to put them in hermetically sealed bag and inoculate them.
Mark Matlock
If we homeschool them, sometimes its even worse.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah. And we’re going to protect them. And that very protection is precisely probably in many cases what doesn’t work once they go out there, because they haven’t been equipped to face what it is that they – and because they never heard about it, or didn’t know about those things, when these areas are sprung on them in the university, the conclusion they might come to is, well no one ever told me about these things.
Mark Matlock
Yeah.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
Right.
Dr. Darrell Bock
And it must be true because I didn’t hear a thing about it in church.
Mark Matlock
And I mean I look at so much at what I’m doing with teenagers as inoculating them for the future. I can’t give them every you know, answer, but to give them safe places to doubt. You know, to let doubt be a part of their spiritual development, and not necessarily want the right answers. Because really, I think what’s happening is it’s a question about how epistemology, how do we know. Right?
Dr. Darrell Bock
Right. Right.
Mark Matlock
And so we’re giving all these kids these foundational truths, but we’re not really helping them understand how other people come to know things, and then they get into another environment where they have new tools and other abilities to think with and reflect on, and it just makes this other thing feel very disingenuous.

So somehow doubt has to be – I mean, I had a small group at my home church where a lot of the staff were, their teenagers were in my group of seniors, and I just had them write on an index card tell me something about you that probably not a lot of people know that you only want me to read. I’m not going to share it with anybody. Don’t put your name on it. I would say more than half of the cards came back that said I’m an atheist. I’m just playing along until you know, for the sake of my parents.

So there was a generosity of I’ve already come to some conclusions. I’ve already done this exploration, you know, and I’ve come to some conclusions, and I’m just being kind to my parents right now, and the situation that we’re in. Trying not to make waves because I respect them and I love them, and appreciate their view.

Well, I just said okay. This is what we’re doing this year. We’re just going to – let’s talk about this, how did you come – and you know what? Church was not a place where they, during their experience with the church, was not a place where they could ask those questions safely.

Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
Where they could explore.
Mark Matlock
And explore them. But they had other places. I think that’s the thing that these devices and everything are letting us do. You know, nobody sits there and goes oh, what was the name of, you know what I mean? You just Google it.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That’s right.
Mark Matlock
And so they have access to all of thes other groups and all these other communities that are thinking and growing. And so you know, I think we have to allow that to be a part of the experience.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
That’s one of the digital realities. One of the digital realities is that you can try and inoculate your kids from getting there, but they’re getting there. And so you’ve got to – you’re better off to face it and have the conversation than it is to pretend or think that you can build kind of a Berlin wall to protect your kids from this.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
And Mark has hit on something I think is really important, and I think the millennials or the emerging adults, extended adolescents, we have all these terms that we’re using. But doubt, and the ability to ask questions. Because the generation ahead of this group doesn’t like that. We had very clear cut answers, and even the way we did evangelism and the way we used it four spiritual laws, you know, it very precise. And it was based even on a science. You know, the first reference to that is you know, just like there are physical laws in the universe, you know, there are spiritual laws. And these kids are going, what?
Mark Matlock
And there was a time when that worked.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
And it worked, but it’s not as effective anymore, and I think one of the solutions, one of the many faceted solutions that we’re going to have come up with is to entertain those doubts. To allow these young people in the safety of a loving community and environment to ask these hard questions. And the problem is our generation has to be confident enough in our own, that our faith is robust enough to handle these doubts and to handle these questions. You know, if we don’t have a very concise or specific answer right now, you know what? Let’s study this and let’s come up with a good answer that works. That makes sense from our theological and doctrinal perspective and what God’s word says. But so many people are even afraid of the questions. Don’t even ask that! [gasp] If you ask that question, you’re not a Christian! Get out of here. And a lot of teenagers, a lot of emerging adults, are believing that.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Thank you. Thank you. There’s the door. I’m going through it.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
They’re leaving because of that. Exactly.
Dr. Darrell Bock
You know, I see the same thing in an area that I work in, which is related to apologetics. A lot of the writing that I do is related to apologetics, and I think we have set the table and the bar so high we have designed our own failure. Okay? And the point is, it’s like apologetics are so absolutely clear that if you don’t get it and you have doubt, you must be a dunce. Okay? All right. And I’m sitting here going no. I work in the humanities. I know what it is to work in ancient history. I know how this stuff works. It’s never that clean. And so when we say – and I love this book, I mean it served a generation well, but it sets the problem. Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Okay. All right?

A lot of people are saying all right, that doesn’t demand that verdict. There are things on the table here that need to be – and so what we do is we don’t put on the table the things that cause people to question. We simply say, this is the way it is. You know. It’s Walter Cronkite, this is the way it is. And that doesn’t work. We’ve got to come to a place where we have a conversation and we help people think their way through the judgments that are involved in the movement towards faith.

They’re sound judgments, they’re reasonable judgments. I think we can be confident of that. But they aren’t 100% slam dunks.

Mark Matlock
You know, I just did a conference tour for teenagers. I just shared with them. I didn’t even try to get them to totally believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of God’s work. All I wanted to get them to – because I knew where they were generationally, was to believe that it was rational to have confidence in the Bible. Right? Let’s do that step before we try to get to these other theological positions. Instead of not going for broke, but just trying to get them at that stage to go you are not irrational if you believe this. It is reasonable to have confidence.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
Because the whole world is telling them they are. Yeah.
Mark Matlock
But just to get them to there. To give them enough, to get them to that. I was overwhelmed by the amount of response from teenagers saying I was an atheist until I heard you know, this or whatever. And I was not giving them every answer, footnote and everything. I was just trying to help them say it’s reasonable to have confidence in this book. And I think that just that shaping of it, without trying to go to certainty, was enough to help them have faith again.
Dr. Darrell Bock
It’s very, very similar to what I say in discussing apologetics in the realms that I do, which is often the university campuses or with parents. And that is to say when you’re sharing or thinking about evangelism and you come up against someone who’s skeptical, they think the Bible is an old book. They think it’s an irrelevant book. They say, why should I believe this is written by a whole series of authors across different times? It has different emphases in it. There’s no way to hold that thing together. And if you don’t have a view of inspiration on the surface, that looks like a very, very reasonable position.

So the response is, what I say is, my goal isn’t to bring you all the way to where I am theologically. My goal is to give you enough pause to say, and ask this question. Why has this book served the world, in the case of the Old Testament, well for thirty-four centuries, and why has the New Testament served mankind well for twenty centuries? And my goal is to give them pause to say, maybe there’s something in here that makes this book a classic if you want to address it that way, that’s worth taking a look at. After all, previous generations of humanity for centuries have done so. So isn’t it foolish to just toss that away? Isn’t there some value in taking a look and seeing what it says?

And my goal is not to persuade them into my entire theological model. My simple goal is to give them enough pause that they’ll open the Bible and take a look at it and then the Bible can do its work. And I think that sometimes we’ve gone for too much, and in going for too much in the process we’ve short-circuited people’s opportunity to come in. So obviously that’s one element of this equation. We want to ––

Mark Matlock
What About Bob’s baby steps.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That’s exactly right. Yeah.
Mark Matlock
You know what I mean? It’s not about what the goal is or the end is, which is where we typically teach for, but it’s going what steps do people need to take to get to a place?
Dr. Darrell Bock
That’s right.
Mark Matlock
And we have to ask this question, is the end necessarily the requirement? You know what I mean? Like can faith exist in these lower steps of faith and belief?
Dr. Darrell Bock
Well, as I often say when I’m on a college campus, I will say I find the closer a person gets to Jesus the more their regard for the Bible goes up.
Mark Matlock
And prayer, and everything else.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Exactly right. So the point is that you’ve got to have the right hub if you will. And so I think that you know, a key hub obviously is what you do and what you say about Jesus is a way to draw to people in. I’m concerned about ––
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
You still timing? You still framing.
Mark Matlock
I think what we’re doing here is a good example, though of an application. And that is we can spend a lot of time talking about the problem, and at some point we just have to say that this is a reality.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Right.
Mark Matlock
Now what are we going to do?
Dr. Darrell Bock
That’s right.
Mark Matlock
And I think that that’s the first thing the church has to do is say we’re not going to gripe and complain, and wish it were different. You know what I mean? We have to say this is a very complex ––
Dr. Darrell Bock
You have to deal with the cards you’ve been dealt.
Mark Matlock
And this is where we’re at. And the churches say we’re not going to be upset about where our generation is at, and try to preserve something and jar it like it was in the past, but we’re going to realize this is a living, breathing relationship with God that we have as the body of Christ, and let’s invite – but we’ve got to invite them to be co-participants in the story. I think that’s the problem. The idea of one person having the visionary leadership to move it forward relevantly I don’t know is going to be the way that you’re really going to find community in the way this generation wants to find it.
Dr. Darrell Bock
And so the problem becomes that – or one of the problems that can exist is that in trying to go back and preserve you’ve actually maintained the disconnections that have gotten you in the situation that you’re in, so that doesn’t help you.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
Right. Right.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
They love to collaboratively learn, and so they would rather solve a problem as a community. Instead of you having the answer that you’re going to give to me, let’s get together and work through this problem together and come up with a problem solution together. And churches don’t typically do it that way.
Dr. Darrell Bock
So one of the things we’re saying is you’ve got to allow room for doubt. You’ve got to have – it’s got to be extremely interactive. It’s got to be integrated with the larger programs of the church.
Mark Matlock
Inter-generational.
Dr. Darrell Bock
It’s got to be inter-generational. It’s got to be collaborative, not just interactive. It’s got to allow for input. In fact, there’s value in the input that this age group is offering, to help the church negotiate the territory, because they’re living in the middle of it.
Mark Matlock
Exactly. And it’s more than input, though. It’s literally co-creation. I think that’s a real important term. Because a lot of times we’ll go out and you know, the pastor will sit down with the young people and go hey, give us some input. How would you do this, or whatever, but they’re not really invited. And they learn something, too, about they learn and mature by being co-creators with those that have gone before them. Right? And so there is something about literally building it together and developing this community together I think that’s really powerful.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay. So what else? We’ve put a few things on the table. What else helps us down the road?
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
I’ll offer something that’s just real practical, that I believe it will help, but it’s just one small aspect. We focus in youth ministry a lot of times on the transition from childhood or elementary school into middle school or junior high ministry, and we spend a lot of time programming for that transition. We want to capture these kids that are eleven and twelve years old and bring them into the youth ministry kind of thing. But when they get to twelfth grade and they graduate from high school, we kind of kick them out the door and say have a nice life. You know, hope you make it kind of thing.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah. Yeah.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
And if you look around the country, very few churches have any kind of real college ministry or young adult ministry programming. There’s not a lot of interest or focus.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
So you’ve got to accrue.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Well yeah, you do. So what I’m teaching my students at the seminary right now is that because of extended adolescence, the youth minister, if the church is lucky enough and financially stable enough to have a youth minister, that person needs to focus not just on this seventh through twelfth grade or sixth through twelfth grade age group. That life does not end at twelfth grade. They’ve got to think about the transition from twelfth grade into the great unknown. Whether it’s college, or whether it’s you know, some sort of career choice that they make. That that is not a cliff that they fall off of. And that you’ve got to intentionally think about ministering, continuing to minister to those students even after they’re eighteen years old. And so many churches don’t do that.

There’s no thought given. Once they’re eighteen, once they graduate from high school, have a great time. You know, hope you survive kind of thing. We can’t do that. So I’m telling my youth ministry students that are graduating from DTS, your ministry does not end when they graduate from high school. In fact, I want a church to bring under that youth minister the college ministry, young adult ministry umbrella. That that youth minister probably, if they’ve gone to seminary, gone to a good Bible college, they’re probably better equipped to relate to and to program and administer with that particular age group than some of the older other generation ministers that are on staff.

Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
Yeah, my theory is very similar, and that is that once kids hit tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades, there’s a whole other life transition that the church needs to be sensitive to that basically they haven’t dealt well with. And I actually think the fact that we’re in a digital age provides some opportunities for maintaining those contacts and connections that we haven’t thought about on the church side. You know, if kids are used to relating to people from a distance, what prevents those relationships that were built in through the high school years from continuing once a kid goes off to college?
Mark Matlock
A good example of that is I’m a small group leader at my church and so I have a group of freshmen, and I see them through their senior year. And then instead of rushing to give me another freshman group, why don’t you give me my fifth year is sticking with that group of students and connecting with them in my volunteer hours that were spent small group preparation is now just staying in contact with them, maybe visiting them, whatever the case is, but the church empowering me to do that.

And I think that’s the thing. When you think about that college ministry, or whatever, it doesn’t have to be an on-site gathering. It’s literally just a way to connect. And to piggyback on what Jay is saying, I think the vocational development is a really significant part of the church in terms of thinking about you know, the church, we’re always talking about you know, you need to live 24/7 for Jesus. But then what we mean by that is you need to be doing stuff at church 24/7.

Dr. Darrell Bock
Right.
Mark Matlock
Right? And most people are going wait a minute. You know, how is what I’m doing at my church relevant in my vocation? And a lot of people in the church don’t go to their pastors for vocational direction. Right? But I think we have to start thinking about how are we as a church preparing vocationally a generation to see that as their platform for change.

I mean, when you sign up for a web forum, it doesn’t say minister. You know what? Those are not options.

Dr. Darrell Bock
Right.
Mark Matlock
They don’t even care about tracking us. That’s how non-influential we are as ministers. You know, we’re not even being tracked. There’s no reverend in the pull-down box. You know what I mean? So it’s just a really interesting thing when you start looking. I mean, nonprofit is about the best category I can put myself in, or religious you know, just religious if they even have that. So we’re not even being tracked by the culture-makers out there.

So I’m sitting here going my congregants are going to be much more a powerful part of changing culture and living out the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven than maybe I am as the senior pastor of the church, or the youth minister or whatever the case is.

Dr. Darrell Bock
Absolutely.
Mark Matlock
So how are we empowering this generation who is struggling to find how they’re going to start? How do we think about funding them in ventures that they’re doing? Because right now they’re going to kick start their business. They’re not going to banks. Right? They’re going to mom and dad and saying hey, you want to get in on this project? How can the church think that way about how we’re empowering tentmakers, you know, out there to really do that, and how are we – I just think there’s a whole new imagination we need to have.
Dr. Darrell Bock
You’ve extended our introduction to an hour. The next podcast that we’re doing after this one is on theology of work. And we have partnered with the Kern Family Foundation to make thinking through a theology of work and vocation a part of the environment here that we get our students to think about as they pastor. You know, how many churches, why don’t churches do that with young people? They aren’t even doing it with their adults. How do we lift up vocations for our adults? How do we make people think about their 24/7 experience at work, their nine-to-five experience, as a part of what we talk about in the pulpit? The same disconnect that we find with young people is also the same disconnect we have with people in their work. And my goodness, those are two of the most important sociological pools the church deals with on a regular basis. So no wonder we’re struggling.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
One of the characteristics of millennials or the emerging adults is a term called missional. They have a strong sense of wanting to accomplish something. They want to make a difference. They want to do something that’s significant, that matters, that changes the world. They have big idealistic goals, and they want to make it happen. And yet they’re not given a lot of opportunities to even think that way within the local church. So the church, as Mark was saying, and I think dovetailing with what you’re talking about, the church has got to think about how we’re going to empower and help these young adults, these young people, think through where they’re going to count. Where they’re going to make a difference. Not just to help the poor, which is an important part of it. Not just to help the homeless, which is an important part of it. Not just to build housing with Habitat For Humanity, which is an important part of it, but how can they represent Jesus? And that’s another one of the words they use, incarnational. How can they be Jesus and represent Jesus well in their entire sphere of influence? Not just at church on Sunday night, Sunday morning, Wednesday night, whatever, but that 24/7. Everyplace they go and every relationship that they’re a part of. They want to know how to do that well.
Mark Matlock
And another important thing, we’ve got to stop looking at this generational shift as a negative. We look at them and we call them, well they’re selfish, they’re self absorbed, and there are reasons for that, and it really shows up during the teen years more than anything. But one of the things that Arnett has identified about emerging adults is that they have put a little bit of that selfishness behind, they still are not unstable like they were when they were teenagers, but they’re more interested in their parents’ input and advice now.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Right.
Mark Matlock
There’s a shift that’s gone on, and so we have to distinguish between what’s self-focused and selfish. Selfish is sinful, but self-focused is kind of saying I do have to think about how I’m going to prepare myself today.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Please help me. Yeah.
Mark Matlock
And so there is a difference between those two things. They have to figure out how am I surviving? How am I going to take care of my family and whatever today? There is that little bit of self-focus that’s there, but it’s just a little bit different than being selfish. I think that’s an important thing to realize, and that missional quality is really important to realize.
Dr. Darrell Bock
And what this raises is again we’re trying to talk about towards solutions, or at least taking steps forward, baby steps. What this also shows is that rather than thinking about church and spirituality happening over here in a building and then building all your programming to reinforce that idea, what you’re talking about is church and discipleship happening in the totality of life and structuring your programs in such a way that you’re reflecting that.

We have I think in the church allowed the culture to create a sacred secular divide in the way we even approach doing our church that actually works against the development of discipleship.

Mark Matlock
Absolutely.
Dr. Darrell Bock
And what you’re talking about here is being sufficiently engaged across the span of life and not building up those walls in such a way that a person sees immediately the relevance of their Christian experience to where it is God has them in school, or getting ready to get a job, or whatever it is. In moving in those ways.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
Let me circle back. This may completely blow things out of the water in terms of our train of thought, but I want to circle back to something that I said earlier. And I believe that the parents do have the primary responsibility of discipling their kids. That doesn’t mean that they’re the only ones doing it. I believe that the community, the church community, has I believe really a three-pronged approach. The church community has a huge part of this, the parents have a huge part of this in making sure that that church community is the place for them to be, and that there’s other adults that are having input. But I also believe that there’s an individual aspect of it.

And Chap Clark has pointed out some things that I think are helpful. That you know, the more adults that are investing in the lives of these young people, not just mom and dad, but other people – coaches, and teachers, and next door neighbors and uncles, and a variety of adults who are investing in the lives of these teenagers, that that is also another prong of that discipleship process. That there’s more of a community aspect to it, but it’s still I believe the parents’ responsibility to make sure that it’s happening. Both doing it themselves, but also making sure that the community and the church and these other adults are involved in that process.

Dr. Darrell Bock
In fact, this Lifeway survey that was done that I quoted earlier makes the point that the kids who stayed in church have a track record of having been influenced by at least five other adults outside their family.
Dr. Jay Sedwick, Jr.
That comes out of Chap’s research.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That’s right. And so you see that this involvement ––
Mark Matlock
And I think that’s important, and I agree with Jay somewhat. We have a little disagreement on the primary responsibility, because I still put it back on the church. But I think it’s really important – but when you’re looking at a 5% unwed mothers in 1960 to 41% in the present day, our idea of family has fundamentally changed. And you know, Hannah, she outsourced the spiritual development of Samuel to the temple. I don’t know that it’s a bad model all the time. And so I just think that we need to be thinking – I just see churches pushing back on mom and dad. It’s your responsibility. It’s your responsibility. I’m going wow, if we’re going to push mom and dad and say it’s all their responsibility, we’re denying who we are as the church, and we’ve just cut off anybody that’s not in a conventional family structure, which is the larger population that needs Jesus.
Dr. Darrell Bock
There’s two points that I want to make so that we don’t end up in a disjunction here. And that is I actually think it’s probably a waste of breath to try and figure out should we put the stress on the family, or should we put the stress on the church? What we need is we need the family and we need the church, but then the point that you’re making, though, beyond that is another point that I think the church has a blind spot on, and that is we have a society that is producing people who don’t operate normative, I’ll use the word conventional, families. Okay? Their social structure is either parentless or one parent, or a mixed family, or there’s all kinds of other possibilities. And so when we make the model the conventional family, there a whole swaths of people we’re cutting ourselves off from just by the way we’re thinking about the question.

So what that means is, is that some thought has got to be given to how you help the single mom. How do you help the unmarried mother? How do you help the single dad? How do you help the mixed families? All those combinations of things. And again, we’re in a situation where I can think about how I wish it was, okay? But that’s not going to do me any good.

Mark Matlock
It takes a parent to become spiritually mature, and a lot of our parents are coming to faith as a result of their teenagers coming to faith. So how can that parent possibly be at a maturity level to be able to help support that? But I think you know, when I think about all this, I look at my two teenagers right now, I look at the world that they’re living in, and I go, you know what? We just all have to die. You know? I mean, within them is the ability to create the response that’s needed for this generation. We’re so in love with the structures and the forums that we’ve created, you know, and the debt associated with those structures and forums. And they’re going to come up and go I’m not paying to pave a parking lot. You know what I mean? They’re going to create something wholly new inside of them. The choice we have is the older elders in the churches, do we invite them to help be conspirators with us in this?
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah. Are we willing to have that conversation?
Mark Matlock
Are we willing to allow them to do that? Because they’re going to do it on their own, because the church is not going away.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah.
Mark Matlock
But it could radically change who’s driving it and how it’s being driven.
Dr. Darrell Bock
And how much better if it gets done with a multigenerational alongside a mutually supportive approach as opposed to the wisdom from above. You know?
Mark Matlock
It’s hard. I mean, the older we get, we get set in our ways. We like the way we’ve done things. It’s hard to invite that new way of thinking in, you know. I don’t like it and I’m advocating for it. But it is really, really hard, but I see great hope in how they see life. And it just may be that some of us have to get out of the way.
Dr. Darrell Bock
And sometimes God uses change. You know, he’s always working in all of us to the very end. The thing I like to say about Christianity that I find people have trouble processing, but I think it’s important is, is that Christianity is actually committed to the fact that I’m going to be changing until God’s done with me and that has not happened yet. So there’s change built into the way I’m suppose to interact and think, and that kind of thing.

Now it’s suppose to be done with certain kinds of commitments alongside of it, but God is working. And one of the ways that I think God works in this community is by giving us other groups that we interact with who identify with us, but who love us enough to say is this necessarily the only way to do this? And to give that space up so that those kinds of conversations can take place.

Well, I think it’s fair to say we’ve only scratched the surface. We probably did a pretty good job of raising all kinds of questions. Exactly right. But I think that someone looking at this age group and what it means to the church and why the church is so wrestling with this group, listening to this has the opportunity to get a sense of okay, I think I can begin to get why this is so complicated, and hopefully can step back, take a deep breath and say this is probably something that’s not going to be answered overnight. This is going to take a lot of work. A lot of conversations. So I suspect we’ll be inviting you back to talk more about this.

Mark Matlock
A lot of funerals. A lot of funerals.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, well, I’m trying not to inject death into the equation. Okay? [Laughter] But hopefully this has been helpful for people to reflect on, and particularly if you’re a pastor or you’re a youth leader and you’re listening to this. I hope that one, it gives you a sense of what the playing field is, and two, perhaps more importantly has opened up some ideas of how to think differently about some of these areas, and maybe even encourage you to think more seriously about these areas and how they integrate into your larger church. So I thank you both for being with us, and I thank you for being with Table podcast where we discuss issues of God and culture.
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Darrell L. Bock
Dr. Bock is senior research professor of New Testament and executive director for cultural engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has authored or edited more than 40 books, including Jesus according to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels, Jesus in Context: Background Readings for Gospel Study, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods, Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King, Who Is Jesus?: Linking the Historical Jesus with the Christ of Faith, and Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus: A Collaborative Exploration of Context and Coherence.
Theology
Sep 19, 2017
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Sexuality
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