Sunday, June 01, 2008

Younger Evangelicals

Younger Evangelicals, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
This morning I read an article in the New York Times that was talking about a trend among younger evangelical Christians with regard to social issues.

For anyone who reads my blog, this trend should be no surprise, but to the New York Times writer, it was a bit of a surprise. Younger evangelical Christians hold to a pretty conservative theology, but their faith seems to involve issues of justice, environmental stewardship, and care for the poor.

Surprised? I'm not. I believe as more and more Christians are challenged to look at the world in which we live we will be challenged to put our faith into tangible practice not only in our own individual personal development with engaging scriptures and prayer and other spiritual disciplines, but also, we will be challenged to work toward finding solutions to the problems that exist in our world, for the glory of God.

The photo above was taken during our opening day of worship and prayer for the Leadership Training program I'm helping to run in Carolina Beach, NC. These students from Ball State, WVU, and Virginia Tech are interested in growing in their relationship with Jesus. They are interested in growing as leaders, and in changing the world for the sake of future generations.

Older evangelicals sometimes get concerned about this interest in shaping culture, but this has always been part and parcel of what it means to be the church.

In the words of Al Reis, "The next generation product almost never comes from the previous generation." What it looks like to be salt and light among younger evangelicals, while fundamentally similar to older generations, may look drastically different.. It is easy to critique, but not always easy to listen and become a student of cultural trends.

When I look at these students at LT, or I think about the young people who comprise our church in Morgantown, I'm excited about the future, and the way these people can potentially influence the world and show people a bigger image of Jesus than maybe they have previously known.

I hope that previous generations of the church can give a measure of trust to up-and-coming generations who are attempting to reach out and influence for Christ.

1 comment:

James M said...

I used to feel like there was somethi9ng wrong with my faith when I had a desire to see things change in society -- to restore the broken places.
Thanks for putting this out there as a reminder that God is bigger than the air we breathe and much bigger than many of His followers can ever imagine.