What will keep my generation in church?

When speaking about the topic of what needs to be done to get kids to come out to youth group, I once heard someone say, "Lets get a band!"  This has been the answer that many churches have given...but statistics have shown that this has done nothing to change the exodus of the youth from churches.

Before you stop reading because you think this is going to be a post condemning CCM (Contemporary Christian Music), please allow me to elaborate.  I have actually been greatly blessed by the rich theology in CCM artists such as Keith and Kristyn Getty, Sovereign Grace Music, Chris Tomlin, etc.  My argument is going to be that this is not what will truly keep my generation in church.

So, what do I think will keep my generation in church?  Before I say what these are, this is certainly not an exhaustive list.  These are just two things that I know that have blessed me greatly in churches that I have attended.

The first one is a faithfulness to God's Word.  This means sermons that are expository (going verse-by-verse, chapter-by-chapter, book-by-book) or Theologically driven (I include this one because I think teaching on major doctrines of the faith is really important (Systematic Theology)).  We've heard too many topical sermons or motivational speeches, and we just want God's Word!  This means not throwing in man's traditions, or going on rants about "what's wrong with people these days."  Just teach us the Word.  And while you do this, we want to see genuineness.  We want to see that you are being real with us...that you have wrestled with these truths before getting up to preach them.  We can tell when you're being fake, so please, really do this!

The second one is, love us.  Love us truly.  Show you love us, don't just say it.  We'll forgive easily when you wrong us if you are loving us.  This means giving us the opportunity to serve when we can.

Now...I want to speak to my generation:  Be respectful.  The things I have stated might be things you identify with, but the previous generations of your church have a lot of wisdom, and you would do well to listen to them.  God has commanded us to honor and respect them, we should do this.  The older people in my church are some of the greatest people to talk to...we can learn so much from them...

Now...to those who know me personally...I want to clarify.  The problems in churches that motivated me to write this have not been true of every church I've gone to.  The church I work at right now is one of the most loving churches I've been a part of, and the pastor is always speaking of the need to be faithful to the Word.  This is more an indictment of issues I've seen in general over my 26 years of going to various "baptist-like" churches.