20-Somethings, All Head and No Heart?

Someone recently said the men in my age group at our church are not qualified to be elders. They are accused of being "all head and no heart." I'm not certain that I know what this means. It is true that men of my generation enjoy studying deep theology. It is true that they like to engage in heady, boisterous talks with one another. It is true that this may be viewed as haughty by outsiders who do not understand. It is also true that I have come to see them and love them as my dear brothers in Christ.

I felt so defensive after this accusation. Could the older generations really think that these men are not qualified to be elders simply because of their age, or do they really see something lacking in their character? I am attempting to see it from the perspectives of outside generations. Based on other statements made at the time, it leaves me with a few questions to ask.

Do we have real, meaningful relationships that are cross-generational? For me personally, I can only think of a handful of people outside of my age group who I would really call my friend. In response, however, why are the older generations not engaging the younger ones either?

Have we experienced enough life? Have these men seen enough of love, pain, joy, and hardship to season them and make them stronger leaders? I do not know. What is enough? When I think on the darkest moments of my life, it cuts me to think someone might tell me that I have not yet experienced enough pain.

These and other accusations, while relevant, do not (in my knowledge and limited experience) match up with the qualifications for elders and overseers given in Titus 1. They are not being accused of being drunkards, lacking discipline, being deceitful, or not knowing the Bible well enough. I see awesome men who love their wives and love their God and desire to make Him known to the nations.

I'm really struggling with this. I so desperately want to understand why these men will not be allowed to lead. Many of the accused will read this. Perhaps some older ones will too. I need more perspective.


Jim said...

Chelsea, I think the scriptures give us an answer to your question.

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
(1Ti 4:12)

The young men you speak of are qualified to serve as elders if
a. they meet the biblical
requirements (1Tim. 3:1-7
Titus 1:5-9)
b. In spite of their youth
they are examples of
godliness in speech,
conduct, love, faith, purity.

There seems to be several other issues in your post. As far as theological study and boisterous talk with one another being viewed as arrogant and proud. Frankly, sometimes it is. I have been both accused of being theologically arrogant and I have been guilty of being theologically arrogant. It is a trap we must be careful of and guard against. (2tim. 2:24)

I think that the answer to you question about enough meaningful cross generational relationships is sadly no we don't have enough. I think the reason for that is because we don't have much real, authentic, Christian community in our church experience today.

As far as having suffered enough pain. If Christ is our example of suffering, then none of us have suffered enough!

Jim said...

yes Sandy has been sworn in. He goes to basic training on July 6,2009