Nicole Havelka Consulting Blog
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Inconvenient Ministry

Very frequently, I hear complaints about how it’s so difficult to get young people in church on Sundays. Families are over-scheduled and it’s their only downtime. Young people would rather stay out at night and sleep in the mornings. These are all understandable realities.

But, still, most church leaders seem to ignore what they are hearing. Recently, I asked some young people what they do on Friday evenings in their small town. A young woman responded that young people tended to just walk around town with nowhere to go.

The leadership team with which I was working still found themselves stuck for a moment on the Sunday morning thing. I reminded them that it seemed like their open window of time was in the late evening. Fortunately, this group altered their plans to accommodate this reality. But, many more churches still insist on using the same times and the same programs to do the same thing.

I understand why adults wouldn’t want to be out late in the weekday evenings. I know I would much rather be getting ready for bed than hanging out with young people in the late evening hours. It’s simply not my “high energy” time of the day.

But, doing ministry is not always convenient. If you want to bring Christ’s love to new people, you have to reach them at the times and places where they ARE, not where you WISH they would be.

Christians have been doing this inconvenient ministry for centuries. The Christmas holiday was not set on Dec. 25 because we have any definitive record of when Jesus was actually born. Rather, the holiday was set, at least in part, because it takes place at the Winter Solstice. In Northern Europe, Christians wanted to convert pagans and they borrowed the date and practices of Yule in order to reach them. That is why we hang mistletoe and decorate trees at Christmas – because we adapted to the practices of the people around us.

What we need to do is go back to our roots and do something inconvenient for a change. It just might create something new and wonderful – like Christmas!

Have a wonderful and blessed holiday season!

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