A common criticism of the post-modern ethos goes something like this: “Young people today are unwilling to commit to formal structures and engagements, such as church membership.” And this year, I’ve come to realise I’m one of them.
Not that I’ve stopped believing in church membership. I’m still a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and I’ll probably stay that for at least some years ahead. I’m referring to local church here. Upon moving to the Copenhagen area, we knew that it would be a challenge to decide for or against joining a specific church, but we were not anticipating that we should still be in the void after 7 months.
This may be a negative result of being involved in church planting. For all its faults, Aarhus Café Church was my church – literally, since I was part of it from even before the start. When you join something existing, you have to accept it as it is, living with inconsistencies and imbalances. So how do you find a church family to belong to? Some of our criteria are: we want to be able to make a difference; we are looking for a church that has a clear mission and vision; we want a church that is going somewhere and which has potential.
If we limit the search to Seventh-day Adventist Churches, there are at least 5 within reasonable distance, but our considerations have mainly focused on two of these. There’s the one in which we were married; a large, traditional church which is pleasant but has a built-in inertia that, despite honest efforts, seems difficult to shed. And there’s the one which we attend most regularly; a newer church with lots of young people and a bigger potential, but which seems to be treading water at the moment, lacking the drive and vision of earlier years.
Then there is the radical option: start something new. We had talked about this even before leaving Aarhus, but know from that experience that church planting is a huge undertaking and needs a big commitment. Furthermore, partners are needed for such ventures – we would need to build a vision together with other people, expanding the thoughts we already harbour with the input of others willing to join such a project.
So what path should we take? That has yet to be decided. And while thorough thinking is a blessing, indecision can be a bane. Somehow, somewhere, something needs to happen.