Little Calumet Christian Fellowship is the first Mennonite church in North America to intentionally form a Generation X congregation with pastoral leadership from within that generation. As Anabaptists, we have many of the same concerns as other young people. The Mennonite church upholds the needs of the poor. We advocate racial and gender equality, as well as environmental stewardship. We are also staunch advocates of nonviolence and reconciliation. These characteristics have been crucial in overcoming cynicism, which is the chief obstacle we have faced in building our community.
As pastor and church-planter of this multicultural, urban congregation, I have learned some valuable lessons about ministering to people of my generation. There are four key areas that need re-engineering to be fruitful in reaching my generation: leadership, worship, preaching, and discipleship.
Leadership. We are happy that the church of the baby boomers has a heart for young people. We have a lot of gifts to bring to the table. However, new wine requires new wineskins. By elevating aspiring Gen Xers to positions of leadership, the church will help members of our generation mature into responsible adulthood and use our gifts and resources to share the love and grace of Christ to a broken world.
Worship is the church's most important tool for evangelism and for keeping Gen Xers as active participants in the corporate body. In our church we have received very positive responses to the use of alternative Christian music during our worship. Perhaps this is because so many of us identify with the rage and melancholy present in today's rock music. As we worship to music by groups such as Jars of Clay and Seven Day Jesus, we encourage personal and expressive participation from the congregation. We also are not afraid to use applicable secular music that speaks to us theologically and spiritually.