Listen: Darlene Zscech chats to Laura Bennett. Above: Mark and Darlene Zschech, pastors at Hope UC Church on the NSW Central Coast.
In a recent chat with Darlene Zschech, the worship singer and pastor of Hope UC Church got to talking about the inquisitive next generation of believers.
Asked what she admires about the 20-somethings now emerging into the life of the church and leadership, she said it’s their curiosity she appreciates most; namely, their willingness to challenge the status-quo of church tradition and culture.
While insecure leaders may fear this type of questioning, Darlene said it’s a quality she respects—as it can lead to healthy transformation.
“They’re not afraid to ask questions,” said Darlene, “like, ‘Why do you do that like that?’ ‘Why church?’ ‘Why is this important?’ ‘It doesn’t feel important any more – why?’
“When I grew up you could never ask those questions. You might have thought them, but there was just a taboo.”
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Holding Fast to Biblical Foundations
She said she is up for the challenge of her traditions being deconstructed, as it keeps her from falling out of touch. But in the process of asking questions like “Why do church”, Darlene says it’s crucial to answer from scripture, and hold to faith’s essential components.
“I think you’ve got to go back to the Word,” she said. “You’ve got to go back to the Acts 2 church. In Ephesians it says the church is Christ’s body, in which He speaks and acts and fills everything with His presence. Why church? There it is. Ephesians 1. You just go right there.
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“I think the questions are good because they challenge us as to, ‘Is this a healthy model of church that represents what God’s heart was for church on the Earth?’”
Pastoring a church with her husband Mark, she said they are constantly working not to let church become a “Sunday performance”.
“In Ephesians it says the church is Christ’s body, in which He speaks and acts and fills everything with His presence. Why church? There it is.”
“I think if we get into a space where it’s just everything happening on the platform, and the congregation becomes spectators, that’s not church,” she said. “That’s not church at all.
“Church is family, it’s a body. It’s meant to be a living, breathing organism of Christ’s felt presence on the Earth. So the challenge, I think, to all leaders today is, ‘Is that happening in your context?
“I know for Mark and I, we’re continually asking ourselves that question, and we’re continually having to morph, because we’ve grown up a certain way.
“You’ve gotta kind of slap yourself sometimes and go, ‘Why are we doing that like that? Is this having any effect? Is this Christ’s model for the Earth today… for this time and this season?
“I think that’s a really healthy question.”