We’ve often heard the old adage, “The church is only one generation away from extinction.” This is usually given as an emphatic reason for discipling our young church attenders so that they are capable of taking up the burden of continuing the institutions of the church. And so we teach them Bible stories, help them memorize Scripture, and train them to take the offering, serve in the nursery, teach Sunday school, and assume their place in a variety of church functions and offices.
If we’re slightly more theologically minded, we also want them to be Christians capable of withstanding culture’s inundations. So we teach them how to use apologetics to win arguments with atheists, we share books on finding the right spouse, and we warn them over and over again about the dangers of sinful living in their college years. But what do we teach them about their workplace? How do we prepare them to be men and women who bring and do Christ’s work through their daily work?
What if the adage ‒ “the church is only one generation away” ‒ is actually not the right one? Look at Jesus’s words to his disciples in Matthew 5:13. Perhaps we need a different focus. If the church is the salt of the earth, then it’s possible that the earth, the world, and the culture around us are only one generation away from extinction. What if the church fails to train the young to work as Christians? What if that causes business and factories and retail outlets to devolve into immoral communities producing sub-quality products that poison our environment, poison the children in our neighborhoods, and keep families from quality goods that could have increased their flourishing as human beings? What if the culture is only one generation away from extinction and it’s us, the church, preserving it as salt preserves meat from rotting? What if in failing to teach our children what it means to do Kingdom work, we are actually failing the culture we were sent to influence and improve?
Might not the gospel look like a tent, a hamburger, a vehicle, a computer, a mobile device, or an app that was created, built, or prepared by someone who did it as unto the Lord?