I wonder how many people think that millennials are bored in church? Or unwilling to go on mission trips?
Think of us as spoilt or fragile, but don’t write us off just yet. I’m a millennial and I want to live for something bigger than myself – and I know I’m not alone in thinking this way.
Having grown up in the age of information and at a time such as this, where we’re constantly exposed to human brokenness and injustice, my generation actually holds more potential for sending out missionaries than ever before.
As a millennial who has been going for mission trips since young and even organised them, perhaps I could share some perspectives on what millennials really want.
Once we are baptised in compassion and a love for the lost and the broken, it will start a fire that’s not easily quenched.
Firstly, I think we want to find our unique role in God’s redemptive mission. I believe we each have individual strengths, convictions, interests … And even our nationalities are uniquely designed for us to play a specific part of God’s building plan.
I think this predisposes us to seek out opportunities that are unique to us, in whatever areas we are placed in or feel in our hearts most strongly.
But the key is that we must have tasted and seen the goodness of God. We must find that He’s worth living for, and once we are baptised in compassion and a love for the lost and the broken, I think that will start a fire that’s not easily quenched.
If you find yourself in a capacity to influence and mould millennials, challenge them to a life sold out for Jesus. Help them rise up to that standard and see what that life looks like for themselves.
I know a friend who’s previously organised two mission trips to a village in Taiwan, where her grandmother is from. It is a village that has no churches and no Christians in the community. She sensed the urgency of the need and has led two separate teams to bring the Gospel to the children there.
You see, my friend has a unique ability to fulfil this specific call because of her ties to the land. As a member of the community, she’s accepted by them. Also, the circumstances she grew up in were pretty similar to the children, so they could identify with her story when she shared her testimony with them.
Maybe millennials do feel bored with pre-planned programmes that have been set up by churches or missions organisations, but it doesn’t mean that millennials are not mission-ready.
I think the Church would do well to encourage millennials to dig deeper and observe where God is placing us specifically and then provide the know-how and the guidance as we embark on these more unconventional forms of missions.
We want to take ownership of the Great Commission, too.
At my church, we have a global awareness team that sets up platforms to create awareness about stories from the ground to reflect what young people are doing to answer God’s call in our mission fields. These stories help us remember that we aren’t all that different and we can begin to do something where we’re at.
Whether it’s an overseas internship, an exchange or a gap year – we’ve heard stories about young people who have gone out to the nations to do something for God while still studying. People come back sharing these stories of how God has used them wherever they are.
Our platform of global awareness encourages young people not to see missions as a separate, compartmentalised part of their lives, but to see it as a lifestyle. And we can live out the Great Commission by using opportunities that are present within programmes we have in school, such as summer schools and overseas internship programmes.
Missions is exciting because God is exciting.
We want to mobilise this generation and the next because we have so many opportunities in front of us and it’s paramount that we see and remember God’s heart in all of these.
The antidote to short-lived excitement is to get us millennials closely acquainted with the person of God – the exciting character of God and His heart for His people. We must keep that fire burning.
If we make missions about a programme – we will come back from it seeing the power of the programme instead of the power of God. But missions is exciting because God is exciting. It is when we begin to feel and take on God’s heart for His people that we begin participating in something bigger than ourselves.
The greatest thing that you can do in life is be a part of God’s exciting mission to reconcile the world back to Him. And that’s the least boring thing in the world.
Only 21 years old, Claire Carter was the youngest panelist at the first GoForth Millennial Influencers Gathering, where she shared these thoughts on missions.
With an expected one billion people in Asia moving from rural to urban areas by the year 2030, the number of world city dwellers is expected to rise to 70% by 2050. There is an urgent call to the Church, especially as the majority of new urban dwellers will be young (under 25 years old) and live below the poverty line ($2 a day).
The GoForth National Missions Conference, happening June 21-23, 2018, will look at an array of diverse strategies to empower individuals and churches to reach and transform cities with the love of Christ. Visit their website to find out out more.