Kevin has eyes that never dim. They can’t. They’re too full of light and hope and passion. Come to think of it, so are Sarah’s and Brad’s and Caitlyn’s and Mitch’s, and the list goes on. Each one is unique in their dreams and ideas. Each one is a bright light in a world of dark people. It’s awesome.
Together, they represent a cross-section of young adults who have come from here and there Sunday after Sunday to be part of something bigger than themselves. They have come to be present. They have come to listen. And, their bright-eyed listening presence has come with a voice as well.
I have listened to their voices as best as possible for as long as I have been at this sort of ministry, and not until a couple years back, did I finally notice their prophetic words articulated throughout a whole swath of Bible books and verses. All their major points are scrawled across those crispy white pages rarely read, known as the Minor Prophets. The principles and practices that emerge from those forth-telling gems stand as timeless truths that echo from the hearts of a generation not yet lost.
- Love God and know God. God is less interested in your show and shine life on the cutting edge and more interested in just plain ol’ you. He doesn’t care what you brought to the potluck. He simply cares that you made it there. So, pare it back to love and intimacy with the God of the universe, who loves you and knows you more than you imagine. (Hosea 6:6)
- Repent is not a bad word. It’s an amazing word. It means turn around and go back. When you sin, be cut to the heart and remember—God isn’t who people say He is. He is gracious and compassionate, and He is waiting with unfailing love. God is not resolved to punish. He is resolved to forgive. So, repent. (Joel 2:13)
- Justice is not a social trend. Real life justice is born from a personal and relentless pursuit of right-ness, and it naturally spills over into every sphere of your life. It doesn’t look like demonstrations or picket signs or a viral social media campaign. It looks like a life where words and actions align with the heart of the God of all justice. (Amos 5:24)
- You reap what you sow. Like begets like. What goes around comes around. Cheesy clichés or true stories? Listen, your life bears fruit. Who you are and how you live becomes the witness for who you become and what you gain. Truth be told, sowing sin along the way reaps painful consequences. So, choose wisely who you’ll be today. (Obadiah 1:15)
- Go big or go home. It’s easy to notice the excitement of everyone else’s story and squander your days feeling sorry for your own. Catch God’s vision for the nations. The world is huge. While you’re feeling sorry for yourself, He’s feeling sorry for billions of darkened and dying people. Step out of your little story and join God’s bigger one. (Jonah 4:10-11)
- Character walks with God. While lessons in life are many, the requirements in life are few. And, while they aren’t hard, they are high; higher than the requirements of the world. God longs to see these three characteristics walking before Him day in and day out: truth, compassion, and humility. (Micah 6:8)
- People are looking for you. The message you bear as a Jesus-follower is unlike any message being peddled to a needy culture. Your message is good news. No other message is as rich with promiseand peace. No other message offers a wholeness that picks up the shattered pieces of life and envisions them restored. So, run with this message and tell it. (Nahum 1:15)
- No one ever promised easy. Life will hit skids of hard times. But, the good news of Jesus generates confidence in things you long for and settled belief in things you cannot yet touch. To live life sourced by a faith that stands above the hard stuff and away from the easy stuff is to live true to the God who made you. (Habakkuk 2:4)
- Chase after God. Seek Him out. Pursue His character. Leave no stone in the land unturned until you find Him. Listen closely to His commands and do them. Learn all you can in what is right and do it. Be ready and willing to give away everything you own to follow Him. Really, He is not far from you now. (Zephaniah 2:3)
- Pay attention. When things aren’t panning out, think through your way of living. We get stingy with our time and money. When we thin out our investments in others, we thin out our returns from the Lord. Consider giving away more time and treasure. The highest yield is born from a generous spirit. (Haggai 1:5)
- You are not alone. You are not forgotten. God dwells among His people; He is right there beside you. Stay steady in your praise and celebration, for your praise and your joy are not lost on far off ears. (Zechariah 2:10-11)
- Fear God. Really, be afraid. Yes, stand in awe and wonder of all His mighty works, but remember they are mighty He is God and you are not. He is good. But He is not predictable. Live with a healthy dose of fear, and you will live in a healthy dose of freedom. (Malachi 4:2)
It’s been curious to me how many people lament the exodus of young adults from their churches. My sense is that young adults have not altogether left yet. My sense is that they just aren’t showing up because their voice is not heard. Giving pause enough to listen, I think we’ll find an offering to the Church of some major points from some minor prophets.
ANDY WEEDA has been serving young adults for 20 years. Currently, he is Pastor of Emerging Adult Ministry at Sunrise Baptist Church in Northwest Washington, where he leads The Branch: an emerging adults community, and directs LEAD Academy, an academic leadership initiative of the local church. You can read more from Andy on his blog.