Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Young Adult Body Part

One of the most encouraging sermons I've ever heard was on the 1 Corinthians passage about the body which I posted yesterday.  I literally cried tears of joy and relief when I heard it.

You see, in the lead up to that sermon, I'd begun to feel like I wasn't part of the body of Christ.  Well, I was part of it, but not REALLY part of it, if you know what I mean.  I felt like what I had to offer wasn't what others wanted.  They wanted me to be something I wasn't; to be gifted in areas where I was lacking.  Most people understand the body analogy.  They know that the church needs all of the parts and that God has arranged them just so.  But often Christians want to rearrange them the way THEY want them.  They want certain types of personalities with certain gifts.  They want to be 'strategic' so they try to cut people to fit into the mission plan they've made.  Their intentions are good (they want people to be reaching out to others with the gospel), but they end up wounding their fellow Christians in the process because they are not respecting how God made them.

I have felt this intensely as a young adult.  I was a uni student when I heard that sermon and I felt inadequate because I wasn't an uber walk-up evangelist.  I felt like I was being pushed into leadership positions when I'm not really a leader.  It was like there was this stereotypical Christian young adult 'role' I was meant to fit into.  I quickly got the impression that all Christian young adults were outgoing, extroverted leaders who thrived on buzz, people, late nights, board games and playing casual soccer.  They led Bible studies, youth groups, and beach missions.  I remember my now brother-in-law's reaction when I told him I wasn't going on 'Bustrip' - 30 uni students on a bus travelling across Australia pretty much non-stop to get to a conference in Canberra and mission in Sydney.  He was horrified.  He told me that I was missing out, that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and that I'd regret it if I didn't go.  Well, guess what?  I haven't regretted it.  Not once.  I'm an introvert and the thought of spending three weeks with people CONSTANTLY gives me cold sweats.

I'm not saying people shouldn't ever step out of their comfort zones and try new things, or seek to be trained.  But some people are too pushy and I felt like I was trying to be conformed into a certain image, to be identical to other young adults instead of being encouraged to serve God the best way I could.

If we truly believe the body of Christ is a body, then we also need to realise there are different body parts within the demographics.  There are young adults who are loud, dynamic leaders, and there are young adults who help out quietly behind the scenes.

We need to accept that God has placed people where they are for a reason.  We need to celebrate the diversity of the body and support and encourage those parts we see as less flashy.

This post has been entered in the December edition of the Christian Blog Carnival. If you're a Christian blogger and would like to enter one of your recent posts, submit it here today.


Wendy said...

Amen sister!

I find myself fighting against this all the time. Especially "home side" perceptions of what a missionary should be. I was a bit dismayed when I saw our home church's recent weekly notices. They asked people to pray for our family, but focused on evangelism (which is not what we do). All my work got lumped into something like "and pray for Wendy and the boys and all that they do". Very disappointed.

Karen said...

Great post yet again Sarah :) I agree with you, and I think you can apply it to lots of things. "What a missionary should look like" as Wendy said, in my case "what a Christian mother should look like" (I'm not sure that I quite fit the picture there....).

I did have a giggle at this line in your post though:
"I quickly got the impression that all Christian young adults were outgoing, extroverted leaders who thrived on buzz, people, late nights, board games and playing casual soccer. " Such a ring of truth to that one!

Maryann Spikes said...

This article appeared in December 2012's edition of the Christian Carnival! Readers can vote for their favorite submission here:!topic/christian-carnival-ii/51ZCxfBvioo Winner will be posted on the Christian Carnival blog on December 15.