Reflections…From an Ex-YA

“We don’t have a job for you, we don’t need you!”
The layoff notice didn’t contain those exact words but those are the words that echoed in my mind. It was 1970 and I was 24 years old with a wife a child on the way and no job. Fortunately the lay off was not that long, but it lasted long enough to forever change my life. As painful and frightening as the words were they were also prophetic words. They have shaped my life over the years, because I have first hand experience of being told I am not needed.

Let’s fast forward from 1970 Mueller Brass Co. to 2012 and the Community of Christ. One of the things I have been privileged to experience are the growing pains of our church which has in some cases caused a “generation gap.” I remember teaching a Senior High Class where I asked the kids what the church needed to do to become relevant to them. (senior highs are young adults in training.) One of the comments went something like this, “The old people need to step aside and let us younger people have our turn at being the church.” (I’m was glad I wasn’t old at time, but now I am.)

I believe that young lady was feeling as I did when I heard “We don’t have a job for you, we don’t need you!” I know this may not be the case in all areas of the church, but in some congregations I am familiar with it is. As an Evangelist it concerns me, because without the youth and you young adults, eventually all we’ll have are empty buildings. I realize that I should be writing this for the “Old Young Adult” blog, but unfortunately that does not exist.

My point in writing to you is to be a voice of encouragement. In my first installment I referred to myself as one who hears, rather than one who speaks. Yet there are times when a voice must sound. And I hear the Holy Spirit in me telling you that there is a place for you in the church, that you folks are not just valuable resources, but empowered and engaged lives. Do not become weary of trying to make a difference in the life of your congregation, because you ARE making a difference even if it is only your presence. God is experiencing your participation in fulfilling the mission of the church

Grace and PEACE,
Gary Piper

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