I was a freshman in high school in the fall of 2000. To some people reading this, that makes them feel really old. To others, that makes them feel really young. Either way, that’s when I started high school and there’s one specific conversation I remember having with my grandpa (my pastor) during that year.
There was guy at our church that was a few years older than me. He graduated when I was in 8th grade and was always the older guy that I kind of sort of looked up to as how to live as a Christian. However, the year after he graduated, my freshman year, I noticed that he wasn’t coming to church anymore. Knowing my grandpa would know why, I asked him.
“He’s looking for something for people his own age and unfortunately he’s not going to find that anywhere.”
What he was saying was that in our little town, and in the city we were a suburb of, there wasn’t going to be anything in a church specifically designed for a college aged person.
Basically he was out of luck.
Last night that conversation popped back into my head. I was standing in the third row at Fellowship Church at an event called Crossroad. I was surrounded by probably 700-800 other people that were 18-25 years old. This was what that guy was looking for.
Crossroad is something I’ve gone to every week since I’ve lived in Knoxville. It’s amazing Bible teaching and amazing worship. When I met with the college pastor last week, he told me that the beauty of the whole thing is that every single person wanted to be there. They all could be anywhere else but they’ve chosen to give up two hours on a Monday night to be there. No one was making them come.
So there I was, one person in the middle of hundreds of others, and I had to take a step back. From where I was standing, I could see a big portion of the room. What I saw gives me chills just thinking about it.
800 people choosing to give up a night of their week to learn about Jesus.
800 people belting out a song at the top of their lungs like they were singing it directly to God himself.
800 people under the age of 25 wanting to passionately live for Jesus.
It was right then and there that I was convinced of something: our generation is going to do something crazy for Jesus. I don’t know what that is yet. I don’t know what it looks like. All I know is that the current 18-25 year old generation is poised to do something on a level that no one has ever seen before.
Yes, I know the church is losing people after high school faster than ever before. I know that many of those people never come back to church. I know that this research group or that research group says this negative thing or that negative thing about our generation.
I know all of the statistics.
I also know what was going on in that room.
When you’re in the middle of something as authentic as the worship was last night, you can’t help but to be moved. You can’t help but to be motivated. You can’t help but to get excited.
God can use us. I think that God wants to use us. I honestly believe that he wants to change the world through our generation. To do that, two things have to happen:
a) The first goes to the generations that came before us, the one that is older than us: Don’t look down on us just because we’re younger than you. Don’t judge us by the negative things that the rest of our generation has done. Give us a chance. Teach us. Take us under your wing and mentor us. We have the energy, the excitement, and the tools, but you’ve got the wisdom and that’s what we need the most.
b) This one goes to those in my generation: Don’t expect it all to be handed to us. We’ve got to prove that we can carry our weight. We’ve got the ideas, and we know the theories, but until we prove that we’re mature enough and capable of handling it, there’s no reason for that older generation to trust us with it. Listen to them. Learn from them. They’ve been through it. Don’t make the same mistakes they did.
Our generation is more technologically savvy than any other generation. We’ve grown up on social media and know how to exploit it. We’ve grown up with photo and video editing at our finger tips. We’ve grown up with more tools readily available and accessible than all of those who have come before us combined.
So now it’s on us. It’s on us to use the gifts and the abilities we have to show the love of Jesus to the entire world. It’s our responsibility to tell our campuses and our friends about Jesus.
We are the Church now.
If we want to see the change in this world that we desire, we’re going to have to be the ones to initiate and start it.
And no one’s ever been more equipped to do that than we are right now.