Yes, the church needs young leaders, of course, but what it really needs are good leaders, of whatever age.
And if we get younger leaders, who is going to train them? A recent Barna study said, “The bare facts of the matter are that even the wisest of older pastors is not here indefinitely, and his wisdom will be lost to the community of faith unless it is invested with the next generation.”
Andrew Root, author of “Faith Formation in a Secular Age: Responding to the Church’s Obsession with Youthfulness,” says that churches have bought into Madison Avenue’s siren song that “authenticity” is paramount and can be found only by catering to young people.
In an interview at Religion News Service, Root quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who seemed prophetic when he said in his day, “The church has been more obsessed with the youthful spirit than the Holy Spirit.” But “To encounter the Holy Spirit,” Root says, “means there is no longer slave nor free, male nor female, Gen Z or Baby Boomer, but all are one in the person of Christ.”
The video above shows some contemporary popular "hip" pastors.
Contrary to popular perception, Christianity Today published a survey here of 250 evangelical, mainline, and Catholic congregations representing more than 20 denominations in nearly 40 states, ranging from new plants to churches more than a century old. Half of the congregations were predominantly white, while one-third were multiracial.
Their research concludes that young people don't want hip pastors. They want substance rather than style. As one online post (now gone) observed more than a decade ago,
The term bespoke the dignity of the office and the sacred calling it entailed. Not so anymore. Dignity is gone as is the sense of sacred calling. Gotta look like the world or nobody will come. Gotta talk about Hollywood movies, play high octane music and bleach my hair… Little wonder that the gray heads found in wisdom have quietly left the building and with them, what was left of godliness.
Young pastors dressed like they just rolled out bed late for school are all the rage in much of the modern evangelical church. The problem is that their theology and grasp of truth is often just as disheveled as their physical appearance. There is little substance in the cotton-candy theology espoused by many of them. We've brought into the lie that young people will tune out anyone not of their generation. Wisdom and maturity only come with time; they cannot be manufactured.