Several years ago a member of our congregation asked everyone over 55 to stand up. Eighty percent of those sitting there that Sunday morning stood up. As an Evangelist one of my concerns is the future of the church. But what concerns me more are the folks who read this Blog and the folks for who it is meant for. As I think about what the church was 40 years ago when I was your age and what it is blooming into in 2013 it boggles my mind to try and conceive what it will become in the years to come. However, from what I’ve experienced through this Blog and my relationship with Young Adults in the Michigan Mission Center I know that its blooming will mature into a Fruit Filled Extension of Christ’s Mission on Earth.
One of the things I firmly believe is each succeeding generation owes its success in part to all the previous generations. However, one of the “anchors” of the succeeding generations is the previous generations reluctance to relinquish its own vision of what the church should become. I am not sure if any of you are familiar with the excellent book “You Lost Me” which is a book about young people leaving the church. Near the end of the book Author David Kinnaman writes:
“If you are a young person, take responsibility for your life and your future. Whether you are a prodigal, nomad, or exile— or on some other kind of journey— God isn’t done with your story. I urge you to open your imaginative spirit to a larger, historic vision of the church, the one depicted by the writer of Hebrews: an assembly of saints, past and present, of angels, of God, and of Jesus Christ. You are called to be a part of that assembly, empowered by the Spirit to work alongside your sisters and brothers to serve and restore God’s world.” (You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith, Kindle Locations 3543-3546. Baker Book Group. Kindle Edition, emphasis mine)
While I may never have the chance to meet you folks I think of you each time my email rings with a new YA Blog post I think of you and pray for you. It is my prayer that as each of you struggle not only to make your way through your life as church leaders but as you make your way though the difficult circumstances you face on a day-to-day basis. Below is one of my favorite turn-to-when-things-seem-to-go-awry-scriptures please note the portion I have highlighted.
“Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? GOD doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon GOD get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.” (Isaiah 40:28-31 MSG, emphasis mine)
While I cannot speak for other Evangelist I am committed to do everything I possibly can to assist you as you answer the calling of God on your lives.
Grace and PEACE,
Gary Piper, Evangelist