What two major conferences reveal about millennials and Gen Z
There’s much concern and talk amongst Christian leaders about millennials and Gen Z young adults and youth. Are they interested in the Church? Are they invested in God’s calling for His Kingdom cause? Are they really that self-absorbed and superficial? How can we reach them? How can we inspire them to live for Christ?
At the end of 2018, there were two large college-aged student gatherings: Urbana in St. Louis (IVCF) and P2C Plus in Toronto (Power2Change). Urbana, which takes place every three years in North America, saw 11,000 students coming together to worship, learn and be mutually encouraged. P2C Plus, which is for Canadian students and takes place every year, brought together 1,500 students from university and college campuses Canada-wide for the same vision and calling.
Be not mistaken. There is a young and upcoming generation that is eagerly in search of truth and purpose. And there is no greater and more fulfilling calling than that of missio Dei (mission of God).
It was encouraging to see so many young people, truly from all backgrounds and walks of life, coming together because of their faith in Jesus Christ and their desire to grow deeper and stronger in that faith. It was encouraging to see Christian leaders from local churches and Christian organizations coming together to network, have conversations, and provide information, and opportunities. It was a privilege for the Canadian Bible Society to be amongst those who are eager to support and have part in raising up our young generation of leaders.
In Psalm 90.12, Moses writes, “So teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” No one lives forever. Every year that passes, I’m keenly aware that it’s been quite a long time since I was the age of the young adults I met at P2C Plus. Not that I mind aging but there is a growing urgency as I observe the increasingly rapid pace of change of the world in which these students are growing and will eventually have to lead, or at least navigate. Being wise, in these days, would be to invest time, energy and resources (the best of all of these) into mentoring and ensuring that we do all we can so that we might be used by God in raising up these emerging young leaders. That would be envisioning the long game—the ultimate endgame.
It’s conferences like P2C Plus that remind Christian leaders why the local church, personal relationships in faith communities, and intentional mentorships are important. What happens after four days of worship and equipping? How can they follow through with what they have heard and experienced? Where is their outlet of service and praxis?
This is where Canadian Christian leaders need to really come together and be intentional about serving this next generation without agenda and in a concerted effort. We can no longer afford not to. And when you hear the voices of 1500 students worshipping, when you see them taking in the messages, and when you watch them mingle with their peers, you cannot help but wonder how our Living God will move in this living generation for His eternal glory.
The motto for the Canadian Bible Society is “The Word. For Life.” I believe it—wholeheartedly! The Word is Life for all peoples and all generations. And our current generation of leaders must not only believe this but live it out (because it demonstrates our faith). This is the example we can collectively set for the emerging leaders.
What a way to start 2019! May we be encouraged by our younger sisters and brothers. May we be challenged to teach and live His uncompromised Word. May 2019 be a year of His favour and grace.
About the Author:
Lisa Pak is the Ontario Regional Director of the Canadian Bible Society.
Lisa is an ordained minister of the Korean Association of Independent Churches and Missions with a Master of Divinity and a Master of Biblical Language from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. She has extensive ministry experience in large congregations in South Korea, Singapore, and Canada. As well, throughout her years of ministry, Lisa has established deep relationships with the Asian, African-American, Indian, and Russian communities. She is passionate about mobilizing Canadian young people and “millennials” to become more active in partnerships with those elsewhere to bring the Gospel to all nations.