The families-with-children of Carolina Forest are a likely demographic unit for Trinity Church‘s West Campus.
Often times, when young couples have children, they start to think about formative influences in their childhoods. Having kids causes a re-evaluation of that long-dusty church membership.
So inevitably, some of those Carolina Forest families will fit the following description from Stefan Ulstein’s introduction to his book Growing Up Fundamentalist: Journeys in Legalism and Grace. While Ulstein uses the term “boomers,” referring to the baby boomer generation, I think most of what follows is still applicable today — at least to those who once went to church and now wrestle with whether to return.
“The nagging problem that so many ex-fundamentalists face is that they cannot escape the legacy of their upbringing. They long for the sense of belonging brought about by the Christian fellowship and bonding that they experienced as children. They miss the warm assurances of a world with clearly defined right and wrong. They want it for their children. But they do not want the guilt, shame and self-righteous arrogance that came along with it. They do not want to set themselves against their children and society by taking an intractable stand on every issue only to discover later that they were wrong. Unlike their elders, who grew up with a sense of knowable truth, the boomers wrestle with multiple ambiguities. Their worldview stresses pragmatic solutions and emotional well-being. They eschew battles over dogma and doctrine and long for a community of believers who can be identified by their love for one another.”
In light of all that, it seems to me the good challenges for Trinity Church West Campus involve:
-Using fresh images and terms to describe Christ’s mercy and grace
-Building a genuine, healthy community