It. Is. Finished.
NEXT STEPS: Young Adult Ministry Training
These are 5 things that you and I can do in light of, and in response to, what has happened.
1) Speak up.
Even Twitter didn’t see it coming – the interactive contribution of SDA millennials across the globe displaying the most effective use of a hashtag I’ve seen till date.
If Twitterverse has told me anything during the past week, it’s this:
Millennials have a voice. And we want to be heard.
So speak up. Raise your voice. Do whatever it takes to shake up the status quo, either in your local congregation or community. Do so in a manner that shows the clearest picture of Jesus.
And lest we forget: Few millennials with a relevant message spoke up once with a passion fueled by the fire in their bones.
Now they are 18 million strong. And growing.
2) Get connected to your local church.
Our current demographics within the Adventist church reveal that we are not the church of tomorrow, but the church of today. In light of that fact, the gross under-representation of young adult delegation at the GC could evoke in us one of two responses:
1- Express angst and continue to find reasons as to why we should have been better represented, or
2-Ensure our representation in #GCI2020 by getting plugged in now.
This is what Elder Gilbert Cangy, the youth director for the General Conference, had to say when interviewed about the process of becoming a delegate at the General Conference session:
“The General Conference, as an entity, does not choose delegates. The delegates are chosen as close as possible to the local churches. It only makes sense to trust the leaders closest to the local churches to know the individuals who can contribute in a significant way to the (future and direction) of the church (at large). Each division of the world church ensures the credibility of its delegates by “screening” them through the responses of union presidents and local church pastors.”
He later went on to say that when a young adult is faithful to the principles of our faith and is an affirming, empowering voice at the local church level, chances are that he or she will be noticed by other local leaders as someone who has the best interest of the church at heart. After that, it’s only a matter of time till their name is referred for nomination.
All this tells me that the surest path to becoming a delegate at the GC session always starts at the doors of your local church.
Get involved at your church. Lead a ministry. Be proactive.
3) Be informed
The GC session can be a cure for “denominational myopia.”
Let me unpack that.
As millennials, we have a high-functioning radar which detects anything from an ugly logo to an inefficient system. Scrutiny and critique can oftentimes be effortless.
So let me be the first to admit that it’s easy for me to get distracted by something that happens to me at church and indiscriminately color my perception of the church at large with a large, hairy, brush – all the while not realizing that I’ve haphazardly colored over some other things as well.
Myopia is simply being hyper-focused on what lies nearest to you that you fail to include the larger context. And I was myopic about my denomination.
Experiencing the GC, albeit for two days, significantly lessened this myopia by exposing me to the larger context of the world church.
Listening to the division reports, interacting with those from other cultures and nations, and seeing God’s activity among them showed me that the ‘church’ is more than just what happens to me in my local church.
The GC reminded me that the ‘church’ is bigger than its issues. The more I was informed, the less myopic I became. The more I got to know the larger context, the less I reacted to the smaller ones.
What we do is greatly impacted by what we are up against. Therefore the more we are informed about what’s happening in our local congregation, community, and the global Adventist community, the better we are suited to be game changers for the Kingdom.
4) Find a Christ-centered mentor who has your best interest at heart.
5) Dig deeper into Scripture.
As I was scrolling through my twitter feed on the day of the big vote, I couldn’t help but wonder:
What if millennials were half as engaged and committed to spending time in Scripture as they were on their Twitter feeds?
What would that look like? How would that look like in their personal lives and in the lives of their communities?
Iconic theologian and author A.W Tozer once made this provocative statement:
“Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified.”
Boom. *drops mic*
Friends, we are not just millennials but Seventh-Day Adventist millennials: a special group of people who have been entrusted with the end-time message of a living Savior to be shared with a dying world.
For us to be bold in the world, we need to first be humble before God in the prayer closet. The more we dig deeper into Scripture, the more leverage and arsenal we have along with the adults and leaders of our church.
Our cultural relevancy is largely dependent on our Scriptural fluency. When we are well-versed in Scripture, not only are we able to speak the language of other demographics within our denomination, but we become better influencers of those outside of it.
A lot of hurt and frustration has understandably ensued in light of Wednesday’s vote. I am right there with those who are disappointed. I’m sure those who are at the brink of leaving have legitimate reasons for doing so. If that’s you, my friend, I appeal to you sincerely – We need you and your pain. Some of the biggest turnarounds and movements in history occurred when a small group of people harnessed their collective dissatisfaction in effective and constructive ways. If you want to move forward, these 5 steps maybe a start. If not, hit me up. Let me listen.
These are just 5 things. What are YOU going to do after this session? Please leave a comment in the spaces below!