Al Mohler on Age and Affinity Segregation in the Church

During a Baptist21 panel discussion at the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Albert Mohler speaks on an important matter of church structure and programming when fielding a question on whether we should have special groups for recovering homosexuals in the same way that there are groups for people who have been divorced or experiencing excessive self indulgence with alcohol and other matters. This clip is in between the 19:08-23:02 time markers.

Here are Mohler’s comments:

Yeah, I think that is an incredibly important insight and I just want to affirm what Russ just said. I just had the honor of preaching at the 100th anniversary of my home church as a teenager, and I realized that as I was there, many of us came from all over the country, it would be the last time before we’d see a lot of people. I think there were some elderly people just kind of living long enough to make it to that service where they get to see some people.

You know, here’s what struck me: Here’s what my church experience as a young person, how it contrasted with what a lot of young people have today: I wasn’t just surrounded by young people. I mean I was looking at elderly people, who as middle-aged people I thought were elderly then, had made an impact in my life and then I think about what we do now and its just what Russ was saying.

I mean just think about this, you take a bunch of youth and you put them together, like that’s really going to help. You look at a college men’s guys accountability group and they get together. Oh my goodness! What they need is somebody to say: you guys need to get a job!

This is too self-referential, and the divorce group is excellent in that, and that’s my great fear. Number one, I am not saying don’t do it, I am just saying that’s not what the church looks like. The church does not look like, to use set theory, a bunch of little sets that meet together for an hour as one big set. If that’s the picture of the church we’re in big trouble.

It’s a people who worship together, ninety-year-olds and nine-year-olds singing the same songs, hearing the same Word. How much more powerful would it be for a sixty-year-old dealing with sixty-year-old temptations to be next to a sixteen-year-old dealing with sixteen-year-old temptations, and frankly sharing sixteen-year-old joys and learning sixteen-year-old patterns, and growing to love one another and encourage one another in Christ. We have bought into a marketing strategy of the world that’s more insidious inside the church than outside.