The Peter Pan Syndrome

Posted: June 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

Remember Peter Pan? He was the boy who refused to grow up. I wonder sometimes if we have that problem in church? It seems that many people grow old in the Lord, without ever growing up in the Lord. We make some kind of decision to follow Christ, but then retreat to live in “Never, Never Land” where there are no real responsibilities.

In the latest issue of Christianity Today there is an article about the juvenalization of the church. It is an article worth reading, although I am not sure I agree with all that he says. However, it does seem that there has been a woeful neglect of the call to be a disciple in our churches in America. I did my own informal poll for a couple of weeks asking people of all ages, different ethnic groups, and a multitude of churches this question: What percentage of people in the average church never grow out of Christian adolescence? That is they never become fully mature Christians? It was far from a scientific poll, but over and over I heard answers in the 90 percentile range and up.

Peter wrote a letter to some of the early churches and he said, “Grow in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.”</em Receiving Christ is only the beginning of a wonderful journey as we grow to Christlikeness by the grade of God, day by day.

  1. Brian Hutchens says:

    Sometimes we grow up then regress in one or two relationships too. I think the 80-90% is pretty close. Two areas that people lack maturity are spiritual and emotional (which are hard to separate sometimes). My emotional age is probably at best young adult or adolescent, spiritual age is probably about the same or a little ahead.

    • Frank Army says:

      I think that I remember having this discussion with you, Pastor Brad. It interests me that so many see the local church the same way.

      After I read this post, I was thinking about it for a few days when an entirely new thought came into my head–new to me, that is–: most people think that the typical driver on the road is a dangerously distracted incompetent, but, in the next breath, will assert that they themselves are excellent drivers. I wondered then how Christians might answer follow-on questions pertaining to their view of their own spiritual development.

      My suspicion is that my wife would be the most trustworthy reporter on my spiritual and emotional condition. My view of me might be somewhat self-serving.

      Thanks for your work on this blog. I read whenever you send a link.

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