Reflections on Gulfcoast Getaway 2008

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We had a great time at Gulfcoast Getaway 2008 this past weekend. Many are traveling back today so keep them in your prayers for safety. The speakers, Randy Harris and Chris Seidman did a fantastic job and even took on a Q&A time from questions submitted by the college students. The worship by watershed was their usual fantastic job. I would have rather heard a concert from them rather than from Building 429 but that is just me.

There are a couple of things that were discussed that need to become part of the larger dialogue between the older and younger generations. I think the pendulum needs to swing a little in deference to the younger folks and out of practicing mutual submission with one another but I think we also have to balance the language we use to retain a respect for where we have come from. I am going to mention a couple of points that came up that need to be talked about more and follow these up with posts and discussion on each. I value your input on this.

1) Many college students are not satisfied with church and the worship experience they are encountering on a weekly basis.

2) Addiction to pornography is extremely prevalent and is having a devastating impact on our young people. We cannot keep this under the rug. It must be discussed.

3) Instrumental music in worship is going to be a really big deal in the next decade. For those out there who see the church as a fortress the message is “the walls have been breached and the enemy is in the gates!” For those who are seeking out relationship and experience the message is, “The time has finally come.” What are we going to do about this in the coming years because if this is not handled in a godly way there is going to be some really bad fallout from this.

4) a la carte Christianity is on the rise.

5) The older people are going to struggle to recognize the church that they have put their whole lives into.

0 Responses

  1. 1 – I’ve heard from some of our college students here that this is true.
    2 – I know of people who struggle with this as well. I agree, it NEEDS to be addressed!
    3 – Not sure what to say about that. (o;
    4 – What exactly does that mean?
    5 – I see that too. It puts a division between the generations, and I don’t like that. But I don’t have a solution either. We, fortunately, have some pretty open-minded older people in our congregation that are not strictly traditional and unwilling to change and grow.

  2. Yes ‘a la carte’ church is on the rise and that is not a good thing. And it is a problem with both the traditionalist and the progressives. I have had both sides upset with me because I wouldn’t champion there self-centered desires for church.

    I don’t know what the future hold’s with regards to the whole instrumental/a capella thing. I personally have no objections to instrumental worship but I am also indifferent. I know this, I serve in a post-Christian. That is to say that my culture at best no longer believes Christianity has anything meaningful to contribute to the question of life. At worst, this culture sees contemporary Christianity (but not Jesus) as an obstacle to life.

    Here is my point: The people we are called to be witnesses to and minister too could care less about instrumental music, who serves communion, what title the preach wheres, what name is on the church sign, and many other issues we think are so important. I understand those who think these are biblical issues. But I don’t and I am sssssooooo tired dealing with these issues that keep us from being a missional church.

    Ithaca Church of Christ
    Ithaca, NY

  3. I like the point Rex makes there at the end. It’s difficult to know how central some of these issues are to our commission.

    To respond to Matthew:

    1.) The one thing that occurs to me is how you & I, Matthew, entered ministry in part because we wanted to be shapers of an atmosphere that is inviting to people like (or better than the one) we experienced at the University City Church in Gainesville, FL. While our generation has good reason to gripe, I feel more strongly about the oft-said statement, “Be the positive change you want to see in your neighbor.” I recognize that a strong argument could be made about how we probably can’t expect such an attitude of most newcomers & outsiders.

    2.) If you haven’t yet, I’d like to see you blog about the illustration you once shared with me about the crocodiles, the pier, & the men who kept silent about their missing limbs. Do you remember?

    3.) I agree that it is imperative that we handle this conflict better than did our church’s forefathers.

    4.) It’s certainly a challenge. It’s part of the package that comes with our “Have It Your Way” culture that is programmed into our minds via Burger King commercials, among other mediums. But I don’t find this dis-similar from other challenges that the tides of culture wash our way. It’s good to bring up & be aware of for sure.

    5.) Selfishness will always be a struggle in leadership.

    I greatly appreciate the point you made about “deference to the younger folks” in these conversations. It’s not that we’ve “earned it.” But why should that idea of having “earned” anything be the trump card in conversations within a religion whose core values align with the idea that we DON’T get what we deserve? Grace is UNmerited favor. Why is it that so often dialogue is squelched in the interest of pacifying an aged group who have “earned” their right to “have it their way?” 90+% of folks who become Christians do so before the age of 25. Perhaps our churches should lend a greater platform & more respect for younger Christians so that we might be able to educate one another.

  4. I do have something to say about #2. I work for a ministry called Covenant Eyes. We help people find accountability for their Internet use, which helps people stay away from porn online. We have a unique software that monitors Internet use and sends a report to accountability partners.

    While tens of thousands of people all over the world use our software, and while many people find freedom from the grip of porn using it, we find that one of the age groups that rarely use this software are teens.

    Matt, do you have any practical advice about how to create a “culture of accountability” among youth? If you have any ideas I’d love to hear them. If you want, it would be cool if you would like to write a guest post on our ministry’s blog ( I’d also love to hear how this list of five things was created in the first place. Did this come from the students? The speakers?

  5. Luke,

    Thanks for the work you do there. I have heard good things about it. Let me think about your question and I will email you about it. This list was my take on what I heard repeated across multiple speakers and then from those who responded and what they confessed to so it was some of both.

  6. Hey there! Haven’t heard back from you and wanted to see if you gave my last comment any more thought. No rush, just wanted to make sure you haven’t forgot about me 🙂

  7. Hi Luke,

    Thank you for the reminder! I have been so busy I lost track of it. I am making a note in my planner to get to it this week. I will get back with you soon.


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