“What are you seeking?”
That line from Jesus.
The first red letters in John’s gospel.
A thematic verse for this generation of young adults.
But also has been a grounding text in my own life.
My story is one of seeking.
Seeking a more compelling story.
Seeking a life that actually works well.
Seeking another kind of life.
I grew up in church on Sunday and pray-before-a-meal type home. I heard the stories of Jesus in Sunday school. I crushed memory verses and adored the flannelgraph. Was a big Veggie Tales guy. But something was missing. Something was off.
There was no life to it.
My childhood was marked by loneliness and depression. The questions of “what would it be like if I wasn’t here? Would anyone notice?” And in that space I turned to partying and drinking to cope. I tried to satisfy my seeking with pleasure, there was only one problem. No matter what I did, I didn’t feel satisfied. I knew there was more to life. But I didn’t know what it was.
Until I met Jesus.
A person was what I was seeking.
As I reflect on my life and my story so far, here's the crazy thing. How I could grow up in the church and be surrounded by the teachings of Jesus and at the same time not be in a space where his Spirit was welcome and where I could genuinely encounter him.
Right now, in 2023, here is the state of the western Church.
We have some of the best content in the world.
The best conferences.
The best branding and social media.
But yet, 70-80% of young adults will leave the Church during the time that they are a young adult.
I think it’s fair to say that whatever we are doing isn’t working.
The research group, Barna, has made the point that outside of a move of God the church in the west is at the point of irreversible decline.
Which is really sobering. But also had me thinking: what if that’s the point?
What if the Spirit of God is bringing the Church in the west to a point of desperation. Of repentance. Of showing that all the programs, all the branding and content won’t work to change people unless the Spirit of God comes.
Which means that all of the strategy gets reduced to one main thing: prayer.
That we would call on the Lord to come again.
Here is my heart. To invite a generation of young adults to hunger after the things of God. “For it is time to seek the Lord until he comes” (Hosea 10:12). Until he comes! Would that be the rally cry of this young adult generation. That we would call on his name until he shows up. Until we meet with him face to face. CLA family, would you commit to praying for this next generation? That God would light a fire deep in their souls and would fan it into flame.
A blazing bush drew Moses. And here’s the thing.
I think a blazing generation, a generation on fire, will attract the world.