I’ve been working with young adults for more than 10 years as the Teaching Pastor of Kairos.
Being part of this worship experience and the relationships that have resulted from it continues to be one of the most exciting parts of my life. I love hanging out with them and hearing what’s going on in their lives.
Unexpectedly, this has put me in the middle of a lot of interesting conversations.
More than one of them has had a conversation with an older person (mostly on Sunday morning) about the way they dress.
The guys wear hats in the sanctuary. Some of the jeans they wear have holes in them—on purpose. And yes, sometimes, the young ladies wear dresses that are a little too short for Sunday morning worship.
As you can imagine, this has brought some harsh stares and even tacky comments from a few of the Sunday morning regulars.
I live in both worlds. I love both worlds. More times than not, I find myself mediating these discussions.
I try to help my young adult friends understand that folks on Sunday morning aren’t mean, but the worship experience is very important to them. When someone shows up dressed in what my traditional friends would consider to be inappropriate, it seems as if the young adult is discounting the value of the moment—even taking it too lightly.
Most young adults have never thought about it this way.
On the other hand, I want my more traditional friends to understand that most times these young adults are coming to church on their own. Their parents aren’t making them come. None of their friends have forced them to be there. They’ve decided this is important to them.
Now, here’s the funny part. They ARE wearing their best stuff.
The jeans with holes in them cost more than my suits. And their hats? Believe it or not, baseball caps are a fashion statement now. And you’d be shocked to know how much these hats can cost.
Just remember this: These young adults paid $3.50 a gallon for the gas to get to church.
So, here’s what I’m asking my traditional friends. How about a little mercy here?
Everyone is doing as well as they can. Most of these young adults haven’t had parents who took them to church, who taught them about the symbols of worship or the sacredness of the moment.
First, celebrate that they are in church. And second, get to know them. Many of these young adults are creative, energetic, and fascinating to know.
And get this: most of these young adults would love having an older friend and mentor in their lives.
For my young adult friends, remember this: my traditional friends aren’t mean. They just see the way you dress as being too casual for the moment.
For them, this moment is holy and sacred. That’s why they seem mad. So, how about a little understanding?
Try this: Get to know the person talking to you. These people have lived fascinating lives. And they’d love to tell you their stories. You’d be surprised at how eager most of them are to have a new friend.
Yes, things are changing and that’s not always bad. The challenge is to have the discernment to know what to keep and what to throw away .
Let’s be wise and generous in what we hand to the next generation, and gracious in what we know really doesn’t matter that much anyway.