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Friday, September 5, 2014

A Message to the Preceding Generations

Last week I was at Project Searchlight.

It was amazing. A truly incredible time of worship and self-discovery through God. It’s essentially a time where all the squads that launched together come to Gainesville, Georgia for a week and hang out while learning more about what God has for them. It’s a time to be poured into by alumni racers, and the staff of AIM as well as many others.

During this time I felt a huge push with my calling. I felt encouraged, emboldened, and just plain excited. Ready to go running into whatever God has for me. Ready to get shoulder deep in the issues of the American church.

But more about that in a different blog.

I wanted to address something else in this post. I wanted to send a message to the preceding generations. A message that is more or less on behalf of my own generation. 

I wanted everyone to know that we’re coming. We’re on our way.

By “we” I mean my generation. And by “coming” I mean we’ve heard our callings. We’ve heard from God, and we’re coming to do something about it. Even those of us who aren’t sure are still striving to see what’s next. The passion is there regardless. We’re running headlong into the fray.

Throughout my life I’ve heard many things about my generation, the Millennials.

What I’ve heard is generally not that uplifting. We’re lazy. We aren’t driven. We’re not hard workers. Glued to our technology (I can’t necessarily argue with this one). Even worse when it comes to the church. Millennials are leaving the church in droves. They’re not committed to the faith. They’re abandoning their values for popular culture. Millennials are gonna bring about the end of the church. Too hip, not enough tradition, more worried about their clothes and culture than the faith itself.

I could continue on with this grumble report for hours. And probably miss several things, honestly. We’re an easy bunch to be talked about. Especially as we are starting to graduate college and enter the “real world.”

First I want to point out that many of these claims about my generation are rooted in truth, if not completely true for some points. In no way can I disprove them or tell you that you’re wrong. Seriously, we can really screw up things sometimes. And we are glued to our technology. That’s one I can’t even begin to refute. Having admitted this, I want to move on to my point here.

We’re not all like that.

And for those of us committed to changing and affecting this world, we’re gearing up. We’re getting ready. We’re getting excited and equipped.

Searchlight really drove this point home for me. I would look around at all my peers and just get excited. The World Race attracts a certain kind of young people, and we’re the tiniest bit crazy. So you could potentially argue that as Racers we’re different and we always would be. 

Not so.

At Searchlight I saw people get freedom from their past issues and sins. I saw people come into their own. I saw their eyes light up with fire as they realize what God’s reason was for them to walk this Earth.

These are people like me who have grown up in the church, but they’re also people who have been through Hell and back to get where they are, people with tougher stories and deeper scars than you could ever realize.

We come from all walks of life and backgrounds, and we’re jacked to do what God has for us.

But it’s not just World Racers. Oh heck no. Not even remotely. My generation is full of people who are on fire and ready to roll.

Not even just the people going into the “ministry.” Doctors, lawyers, pilots, teachers, baristas, waiters and waitresses, office workers, accountants, construction workers. I could go on and on.

You don’t have to go all the way around the world for a year to get excited about your faith and live out what God has for you. Only some of us do.

What I’m saying here is that we’re on the move. We’re getting ready to take the world by storm. We’re coming from all kinds of angles. God has placed us like an expert tactician. We’re going to the nations, we’re staying in the States, we’re going to pastor churches, we’re going to heal the sick, we’re going to build, we’re going to do all kinds of things that might not even seem like ministry. But they are. That girl that’s a waitress at Chili’s can have just as poignant of a ministry as the pastor who goes to Mongolia every month.

God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes as mysterious as Chili’s.

Well now you’re probably saying “Great! That’s wonderful! Why on Earth are you telling me this?”

Because you have a part to play. As the preceding generations, you’ve been through what we’re about to go through. You’ve seen what we’re running towards. You know the pitfalls and traps. You know what works and what doesn’t.

We’re gonna need that wisdom and experience.

But more than that we’re gonna need your SUPPORT.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard your generation judge and tear down my generation. Admittedly it’s been spot on at times. But I have so many friends who are at this stage of life who get no support from their parents or the older generations in general. These people think that my friends have to get into the “real world” as fast as possible. Job, family, home, mortgage, insurance, dog, career. Repeat as necessary. If you’re not moving towards these things, you’re moving towards poverty and a “terrible” life.

There is nothing wrong with those things. I personally would like all of them. And I get that you just want us to succeed in life, really I do. But the kicker is, if you truly believe that our God is a sovereign God who is in charge of your life and you truly believe that He is in control of everything then how about stepping aside from your own visions of what your children’s/friends/whomever lives should look like? If they come to you with a calling from God, and it sounds crazy, don’t shoot them down. Don’t pat them on the head like when they were kids and wanted a dog. Don’t condescend! HELP THEM! SUPPORT THEM! SUPPORT US!.

Chances are, if they’ve truly prayed and asked for this, that God gave it to them. And if it’s from God, chances are it isn’t gonna make a ton of sense! He doesn’t tend to give this four-step plan that goes in a straight line. And chances are you already knew that.

This is no way means that you can’t go with your gut or prayer on any of this. Sometimes we need to go through a little reality to find what the real point is. Little heartbreak and hardship to find what He truly wants for us. But for the love of God, at least pray about it! At least seek His face and His will for these millennials before you counsel them. We trust your judgment and look up to you more than you will ever know. And when you shoot us down because it doesn’t make sense to you, or it doesn’t look like we’ll be moving out as fast as you want us to, it hurts! It hurts a lot! You can do way more damage than you ever meant to, and you probably didn’t mean any damage at all. What we need is for you to believe in us. To trust us. Sometimes it will take a bit more faith than others, but trust all the same.

Acknowledge that God can work in the craziest ways. And those ways don’t always have to do with a white picket fence and the “perfect” suburban life. We’re a generation that is on fire for God and moving towards being pretty crazy about it. It’s not always gonna look the way it did for you.

We love, respect, admire, look up to, and value you of the preceding generations. We need you every step of the way. So please encourage and support us. We just want to do what God has called us to do. We want to do our part for the world and humanity, too. Just like you have. You’ve set a fine example, now it’s our turn to set ours.

This post isn’t sent towards anyone in particular, but everyone at large. Just like some of us aren’t nearly as driven or motivated as others, some of you aren’t as encouraging as you think. This is merely a plea to try your best and do what you can. We’ll gladly accept and treasure it no matter what.

Know that we’re coming. Know that we’re coming to change the world. Know that we’re coming to get help from you. Know that we’re excited. Know that we definitely are crazy, and we don’t deny that. Just not in the ways you may think.

Usually.

Seth



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