In the 1980s I used to hear this complaint: “The old people around here just want to keep the church back in the 1950s.” It was a strange criticism, given that we had been enjoying 1950s nostalgia on screen and radio for the better part of a decade.
Thirty years from now, will today’s young people hear their children complain, “The old people around here just want to keep the church back in the 2020s”?
My guess is that the prevailing sentiment of the 2050s will depend on where the church of Christ is “as a movement.”
If there is considerable growth in faith, number, and unity, the 2020s will be seen as a foundational decade. A time where the faithful dug in for the good fight. If there is considerable decline in faith, number, and unity, the young people (those left amongst the faithful remnant) of the 2050s will be asking, “What was it like in the 2020s? Weren’t they the good old days?”
For as many days as you have left on earth, the one thing you have power over is your work in the church—for good or for evil. Paul points out that everything done here will be revealed sooner or later:
“The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever” (1 Timothy 5:24-25).
Despite the doomsayers, The church of Christ will march on into eternity and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
The young people of the 1950s are now in their Golden Years. They, as Jacob before them, are bowed in worship as they lean on the top of their staffs (Hebrews 11:21). What they once said of the church of their parents’ day, I don’t know. But what I do know is that they, as Jacob before them, pray blessings upon the children of God.
For the generations that have gone on before us, we praise God for their legacy of faith. We are blessed!