According to a new survey of young adults, they are in a nasty mood. The majority of them believe the system is rigged against them and that the two party political systems in the U.S. (where the survey was conducted) are broken but fixable. They don’t like either candidate, this year, for president and believe politicians are only out for their own good and not the good of the people.
These young people believe that America is no longer great and the whole system is in need of an overhaul. As well they see race relations as deteriorating and believe they are living in a country divided.
You add into this mix, corruption, a media that is unfair in its coverage of events, an environment that is being destroyed at an ever increasing pace, drugs that are becoming less resistant to disease, new diseases popping up like the 282 cases of Zika reported in Florida and you begin to wonder what is happening.
We now live under the threat of terrorism, disease, weather changes, open borders, crime, violence, and hopelessness. It is little wonder that young people wonder what the future holds. Oh, and lest we forget, try being a young person in cities like Toronto and Vancouver and want to enter the housing market. With the average house price topping seven hundred thousand dollars, how do you even begin to dream the dream?
Now, the blogs I write are to bring comfort and encouragement to you and myself so I don’t want to dwell upon the negatives. But it is important for us to understand that the world we live and minister in is much different than it once was.
Years ago we could “do evangelism” and expect people to be interested in seeing the beasts of Revelation even if they were only wooden cut outs on the stage. We could advertise and people would read the flyers and come out to see what the series of meetings were all about, but times have changed.
The cutout Revelation figures look just like cut out Revelation figures and when compared to the amazing animation and special effects that pour into their homes through Netflix they run a poor second. Flyers go in the trash along with all the other junk mail and surveys tells us most people no longer want to go out at night but would rather sit at home and watch television or read. When evangelists (I’m talking North America) spout off about their great success, the truth is that it is often children and family members who make up the majority of baptisms from such events.
The Gospel must be preached into all the world but how we preach it, where we preach it, and how we draw interest in the gospel are in need of much reflection and prayer. Now here is the sad part of all this, young people see Christianity as part of the institution or establishment. When they say they have little faith in politicians, the media, and institutions, the church seems to be caught up in that same negativity.
So, how do we reach out to a society that is pretty shaken by the world they live in? We pray. We pray for the people who live in the circle of our influence and whom we can have an influence and impact on. We also need to be open to share Jesus with people. Yes, I said Jesus, not the whole package of what you believe. Listen to people and offer a loving Jesus as an alternative to their restlessness.
You are not trying to convert people to your church, at least you shouldn’t be, you are trying to present the loving, comforting arms of Jesus to a hurting neighbor or friend. Remember Brennan Manning’s great sermon, “Jesus loves you as you are, not as you should be, because you will never be as you should be,” and take that as your mantra.
I am privileged to wake up every morning in a beautiful town surrounded by great friends and good neighbors. A number of these people are not overtly Christian but are great people. So what is it that I have to tell them? It most assuredly isn’t about morality or ethics because they are loving and caring people who would do just about anything to help others. Doctrine and church dogma would be way over their heads and not relevant to their lives as far as I could see.
I believe we live in an era where the unconditional love of Jesus is the message for our time. We are not alone and the world is not falling in on our head. Yes, the world is messed up and bad times are coming our way but God is with us. God loves us and cares for us and will not allow us to be plucked out of His hand. (see John 10:28-29) We have something to say to the young people of our nations and that word is Jesus.