Facing the 90's - Church Where Are You?

Sue Armstrong gives an Australian view of the need of the Church today.
Powerful images invade my thought and my prayers as I contemplate the state of the young of this "lucky country".
The image that dominates my mind is of a young woman in her last stages of life. We called into a block of housing units, mainly occupied by homeless youth, drug addicts, alcoholics and disfunctional people (and many a mix of all these diseases). We visited a young woman. She was lying on a filthy mattress in the gloomy bedsitter, made gloomier by the absence of electricity. She was dying, hepatitis C was ravaging her body, already frail from years of alcoholism and drug abuse. We prayed with her - in two weeks she was gone.

A powerful and distressing television presentation called "Nobodies Children" touched me profoundly. The presenter was following up some young homeless folk interviewed in a previous programme some years back. It was heartbreaking as each broken life unfolded before the T.V. camera. The ending was predictable - they would not make it - lost, dislocated, disfuntional, disillusioned wrecks of humanity, shipwrecked before they even reached the ocean of life.

Another vivid media image was a presentation showing young men who had chosen to go through a sex change. The programme was bright, the young men seemingly happy with their choice until the presenter asked an unexpected question,

"What regrets do you have about your decision?" The camera honed in on a young face, the gaiety was gone and a shadow came over him, pain etched on face. "I will never have any children. I will be last of my line."
Where did they lose their way? What happened to make these youngsters destroy their manhood? Were they victims of sexual abuse or just sucked in to trendy "games"?

The third image is closer to home. A young man in our quiet little community, handsome, well spoken, married with children, good job, finds a secluded spot and extinguishes his precious gift of life.

Where were we all? What kind of a vacuum do we live in that we missed it?

More and more young people are losing their way and the Church marches relentlessly on in the same manner it has done for centuries with a few minor concessions. In some places the music has changed and the format is different, but little else.

In the main, Churches are cold, shabby, furnished with hard seats, devoid of comfort, 'no frills' tea and coffee. Meanwhile, over the road the local service clubs are in full swing, carpets, lounges, heaters and air conditioners, facilities for children, economical meals for the whole family and much more. Of course we can't install poker machines and offer alcohol but we can provide a friendly welcoming environment where people can find social interaction and friendship.

We, the Church, are not 'user- friendly', we are not in tune with the 90s.

The spirit of this age, the 90's, is the spirit of individualism (the "me" generation and the spirit of relativism) no moral absolutes - no boundaries, no right or wrong. These Satan inspired philosophies are leading our young straight into hell. We, this Nation, will pay a price far worse than the devastation of two World Wars in the life and well being of our young.

Young people have become dis-located and dis-connected from their roots. Some through family breakdown and abuse and others through rebellion and abuse of drugs and alcohol. They do not need a bed and food alone, in fact many refuse such offers. They have found solace and comfort in their peers who take on the role of confidant and family. However this binds them in even further isolation and dislocation.

We, the Body of Christ, must provide a safe place where these youngsters can be reconnected and relocated. 0ur Churches must be welcoming, comfortable and we must be open and available. We need places to eat TOGETHER - not just to feed the poor. We need a new structure. Our building should resemble a home, providing a place that will attract and heal dis-location. We need a kitchen and dining facility, we need a playground and facilities for children, a room set aside for homework help, accommodation for those who need shelter from danger and abuse, quiet cosy corners for coffee and a chat. The building need not be opulent, just warm and welcoming. Above all it needs to be frequented by every age group of the Church, living out the meaning of family and community.

None of the above is aimed at knocking welfare or those who are involved in helping the young. My aim is to stir the Church into action to reach out to our young and to all those who are wounded, to combat the Spirit of the age by identifying its character and igniting the Holy Spirit's power through us, to overcome and push back the darkness and release our children from the dragon of this age.

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is the "'power of God for salvation of ALL who believe", but they need to hear it and we must learn to live it so that they will.

If you wish to support the ministry of Dan & Sue Armstrong you may write to them at this address:
Kairos Ministries
P.O. Box 516
NSW 2283
Fax #: 61 49 754162 (International) or 049 754162 (Australia)

Dan and Sue Armstrong
Directors, Kairos Ministries


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