the weblog of Alan Knox

Breaking through man-made boundaries

Posted by on Oct 24, 2009 in community, fellowship | 3 comments

I’ve noticed recently that some of my younger friends (teenagers especially) are better at breaking through the man-made boundaries of church organization.

I’m certain that you know what I mean by “man-made boundaries of church organization”? You know, those boundaries that say we should only attend meetings with a certain group of people, or we should only discuss spiritual things with “our church,” or we should only hang out with the right kind of Christians, or we only have responsibilities toward other “church members”.

But, I’ve noticed that my children and their friends do not have those same kinds of hangups. In fact, among their group of friends, there are people from many different church organizations. Yet, they all hang out together, and they all share in one another’s lives.

They often meet with one another’s churches, and even attend events put on by other churches. (Of course, the church organizations don’t always know what to do about this. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been “visited” because our children attended some function. The assumption is that we’re not “happy” with our church and want to “join” their church. More indication of man-made boundaries…)

I’m encouraged at the way I see these young believers living and sharing their lives. Not only does it give me hope, but it also makes me wonder if us older folks could learn something from this teenagers.


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  1. 10-24-2009

    This is one of the reasons I still love working with students.

    Right now, our men’s ministry is trying to figure out how to “break into” this same complex and start building relationships with the adults in the community. They are wanting to help our men become engaged in building relationships with others as well as engage this community the way the teens have with the children. The idea of the men wanting to start this is to put on a HUGE dinner of some sort with a tent and the entire community invited…this is not a bad thing, the problem is, when will they be back? This is the exact question the people in the community ask themselves every time a church shows up between Thanksgiving and Christmas to do some kind of outreach.

    My suggestion is to just come down every week and see what the teenagers are doing…weekly There is no magic strategy, we go there consistently and love the kids that live there. Seems that the adults go 2-3 weeks and then quit, I guess they don’t understand why people don’t come running out of their apartments just because they show up. It’s interesting, the students have been consistently going every Monday for years now, when we show up there are 30-40 kids waiting for our arrival…the exact same thing would happen if we had some adults that would make the commitment to it.

    All of that to say, yes, we adults could learn a great deal from the teenagers that are engaged in expanding the kingdom…


  2. 10-25-2009


    I’m trying to break through these same boundaries.

  3. 6-14-2011

    We have so much to learn from teenagers! I even look back at my teenage self and wish I hadn’t believed people when they told me that those things were wrong…..