Churches have many traditions. Some good and useful. Others are hindrances to reaching the next generation for Christ.
It is written in Matthew 15:1-3, 7-9…
Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3 He answered them,”And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 8 “‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me; 9 in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”
Traditions became such for good reason… they were practices that helped form a cohesive community to good conduct and living that honors God. Those traditions are practices that should be kept and continued. Tradition, in and of its self, is not necessarily a bad thing.
Traditions can also be a bane that keep people from moving forward to better and more effective practices that help them magnify and glorify God. For some, traditions are a source of comfort, safety, and predictability in a quickly changing world. For others, those same traditions are like trying to drink an 12 ounce glass of buttermilk… straight… with no chaser.
I’ve found that when young people or couples are confronted with a tradition that doesn’t make sense to them, they don’t ask why the tradition continues… they don’t try to change it… they just quietly go somewhere else (Or nowhere else). And those in favor of the tradition either don’t care, don’t know what happened, or are feel affirmed that they are honoring God. But they certainly haven’t considered Jesus’ words from Matthew 15 (Above).
These are some traditions that don’t make sense to younger Christians (!). Don’t get mad at the messenger (Me), I’m just writing what younger Christians have been saying…
“Choirs… wearing robes… sitting behind the pastor as he preaches… REALLY?”
“Attending a Sunday night worship service is not proof of my love for or maturity in Christ.”
“A denominational tag isn’t as important as encountering God in worship and hearing a solid Bible message from the preacher.”
“Things like Women’s Missionary Union, RAs, GAs, Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, and Monday Night Visitation don’t define my walk with Christ and community ministry.”
“What a person wears to church is not what bringing your best for God means. It is the condition of the heart that matters, not having on a suit or dress.”
Then… when it comes to worship style and selection of music… they just don’t connect with the way some churches do it. So they go somewhere else.
Again, when people are confronted with traditions that don’t make sense to them… they don’t buck the system… they either go somewhere else or nowhere at all. The question… the really hard question… is this: Is the Church willing to do whatever it takes (Addressing traditions that hinder) to reach the next generation without compromising the Gospel.