Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how we fit into the narrative of our times. What role do we play here? We are a small rural congregation in north Washington Township, What service of any real importance could we possibly offer the Kingdom of God? Especially considering how far gone American society is now.
There are many who are concerned that this generation, in particular, is too far gone. They fear that our common Faith will be lost here and now.
And honestly, this is understandable anxiety.
There are more people in this latest generation who consider themselves to be Atheist/Agnostic then ever before. Slowly, quietly, the shared memory of Christendom has eroded away, and with it the cultural influence which it had on us. The tapestry of the West has grown threadbare, and the American-folk religion version of Christianity has increasingly been found incapable of protecting us from the cold winds blowing through it.
But there are reasons to be optimistic as well.
A recent study by the LaSalle Institute found that among graduating college students, there were four major drivers in their career choices. In addition to the understandable drivers of Money and Future career opportunities, there was a desire for a work culture that was enjoyable and impactful.
In other words, they wanted to go to work in a place where they enjoyed being with their co-workers rather than just tolerating them. A place where there was a sense in which the executives were approachable and the leadership talks with rather than to them. Where feedback was treated as an ongoing conversation about performance and improvement, a give and take between collaborators who shared the same Mission.
And this is the key: What this generation longs for is Relationships, for a sense of Community. This generation longs for Purpose, for a Life that means something, to be a part of a Movement that changes the World for the better.
Now consider this: That is exactly what God’s People are supposed to be, a Community of the Faith walking by faith together, on the Mission of our King and Savior, proclaiming the Good News of His Kingdom to all who will listen.
See, what this Generation actually wants, is to be apart of the Movement that Christianity is supposed to be… They just don’t realize it.
The question is, how do we change that?
How do we help them see that what they long for has been right here the whole time?
To begin with, we have to see them as they are.
They are young, with different tastes and interests from our own, with new ideas and a need to make all their own mistakes, full of passion and naivety. At this point, they are all Poets and Artists, Entrepreneurs and Activists, Inventors and Explorers.
We must embrace this about them.
All that awkward gangliness of youth is the bud of a beautiful flower just waiting for the right conditions so that it can bloom. Our acceptance and nurture of them are what cultivates those conditions.
Finally, we must empower them to step forward and take hold of that for which they themselves were taken hold of.
In every generation, God raises up those who will lead His People forward. God has placed burdens on their hearts and dreams in their minds. It is our responsibility to make it possible for them to rise to the occasion, to give them all the support that they need.
Leadership is quintessentially influence, with or without a title. True Leadership is the result of relationship equity, not positional authority.
Thus, Leadership cannot be seized and held, it can only be given and received. So it is for us, to call this generation to us, and then give them the freedom to forge ahead.
We are their Heritage. They are our Legacy.
And this is where the Community Church of Pine Run fits. This is who we are and why we are here. 157 years and counting.
Grace and Peace,