And let’s not forget…

Here’s the confirmation class of Park Ridge Community Church, 1965.


It’s the crop of 8th graders today’s youth ministry people dream about: busting out of the chancel seams.

And those days of packed out suburban mainline churches aren’t coming back, at least not in the same make and model as 1965. Even in a church like PRCC that’s in very good shape right now. For whatever reason, the slightly adapted model still works at this church and at others. These are the kinds of congregations I’ve worked in. And I hope they continue to thrive. But I also know that I won’t serve churches like this my whole life in ministry: I might not be able to.

Here’s the scene from confirmation at PRCC this morning.


Less than 10 confirmed their faith. But it was beautiful, each coming forward in turn with their family and adults from the congregation who have mentored and taught and walked with them, kneeling, with the weight of those faithful hands on their shoulders and heads.

I’ve been thinking about the next thing for me and for the church lately (our impending move to the west coast seems a little like taking a time machine about 10 years ahead in church history).

And I agree with many people that the models of how we do church will and have to change.

But meanwhile, we shouldn’t forget: there are still families bringing their children to these “traditional” (whatever that means in a religion with a 2000 year history!) churches; there are still pastors and church leaders and good faithful people working to bring people up in the faith.

And even if there are only 8 instead of 30 on confirmation Sunday, that is something to be celebrated amidst the panic and questions about the future of the mainline. In fact, the responsibilities of those 8 are so much greater than of the 30, don’t you think?

We’re putting our hands on them and putting them in the hands of a God who has been faithful to us for 2000 years of tumultuous history.

I know the future of the church looks different maybe than these churches. But they are still doing good and faithful work. And we can’t forget that.