A significant event of faith and hope was little noticed last weekend. While we grieved over the horrific event in France, the attempted coup in Turkey, the ambush of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, thousands of people, mostly in their 20s and 30s, gathered Saturday in Washington D.C. They did not gather to protest anything or to promote a political candidate. They gathered to pray.
Braving sweltering heat, young adults came from all over the nation to pray for reconciliation, healing and redemption in the name of Jesus Christ. Both those who attended and those who led the program were Black, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, and White, male and female. Pope Francis welcomed the crowd via video. They represented Christian young people who are seeking to proclaim God’s forgiveness and compassion across all racial and cultural barriers.
Every generation must choose their faith. Some are choosing radical Islam. But many youth and young adults are choosing Christ. The question is whether they can stem the tide of violence, hatred and suspicion with a message of repentance, love, forgiveness and faith.
When I was mid-fifties, I wrote down my goal for the remainder of my life: to encourage the younger generation to do greater things than I ever dreamed or imagined.
Three years ago we began hosting a Bible study in our home for international grad students. We welcomed students from China, Indonesia, Zambia, South Africa, South Korea, the Czech Republic, Vietnam, and Ghana. The students led the study. Some were already passionate followers of Christ. Some came to faith. A few are still seeking. Most will soon complete their degrees and return home.
One has already returned to Zambia to start a church and a school. Another has returned to Indonesia and is teaching in a Christian College. Another Indonesian student hopes to serve Christ in orphanages in West Africa. A 25-year-old will complete her PhD in Statistics and plans to return to South Africa where she will serve Christ and help find solutions to deadly diseases. A student from China married an American and they are expecting their first child. Her husband is learning Chinese. When he completes his PhD in Computer Science, they will move to China to continue her work strengthening and multiplying house churches.
Five years ago I started coaching young church planters. One started a Biker church made up of Biker enthusiasts. Another started a Cowboy church and another, who is African American, is starting a multi-ethnic church. Our oldest son and daughter-in-law started a Bible study for high school students in Sundance, WY. Sixty percent of the local high school students attend. Our daughter and son-in-law are helping start a new church in Fort Collins, CO.
These are but a few and their stories are anecdotal. But there are thousands of young believers who are committed to following Christ and changing the world with the gospel.
We will continue to hear reports of terrorist attacks and global unrest. But there is a world-wide movement among young adults to live devoted lives to Jesus Christ and proclaim God’s good news of compassion and grace. They are the “yeast” of the Kingdom that Jesus talked about in Matthew 13:33.