One of the issues we face in our particular demographic is a lack of boundaries and separation between age groups. A question I ask myself daily, "Is this wrong, or is it just different?" I'll give you an example. Over the past few months our gathering has added many high school students. These students have been brought by friends and are bringing friends of their own. However, there is an interesting trend developing and that is the age range of these friendships goes from literally 13 years old all the way into their early-mid twenties. I am learning that in urban settings, at least urban Tacoma, the people categorize themselves not by age but by neighborhood.
We literally have 16 year olds hanging out with 22 year olds and 17 year old girls having babies with the Father being unknown or in his early-mid twenties. Obviously there is a problem there but overall it is hard to explain. These people don't even recognize the age difference. They simply grew up together. They played together, went to school together, got in trouble together and often dropped out of school together. They see themselves as family more than friends but the blinders they've placed on their "age" eyes is causing the youth to get involved in issues that are far beyond their maturity level and the young adults are remaining so immature that you have a hard time believing they are not still in high school.
The question for our leadership team is, "what are we going to do about it?" Again, we don't have it figured out but we believe one of the first answers is separating the men from the boys and the women from the girls. For those who have come to our gathering you know we are a pretty laid back church but we feel like Jesus is calling us to be pretty hard nosed on this for the sake of our people & the gospel. We want to see the children grow into godly young adults and the adults to go from spiritual milk to solid food. We've already gotten some kick back from the young adults but we're moving forward. We're just praying and believing that God has a plan.
Please pray for our 2 new gatherings. Specifically that the separation will result in greater spiritual growth and that these new gatherings would grow quickly so we will be able to multiply again for God's glory!