The Younger Ones
by Al Reimche
March 4 started out as any other Monday, but that is not how it ended. Worship took place at the office as it always does on Monday. Being the first Monday of the month the directors met following worship to discuss plans for camp meeting and to address other concerns. The rest of the day was filled with answering correspondence, responding to emails, visiting with pastors about issues in their districts, specific discussions with directors about decisions impacting their departments, and phone calls that needed to be answered. A very uneventful day so far. That was, until the evening. I was invited to attend a meeting with our young adults called 180 Symposium. The intention of the meeting was to network and brainstorm about different ideas, plans and activities that the youth and young adults are involved in.
As I listened to their energy, I got excited. One talked of their ministry every Friday night in Corvallis for the students at Oregon State University (OSU). Another couple described their small group ministry and how reviving and spiritually refreshing it was for them and their friends. Another described the plans they have for reaching into an area of Portland that is, at the current time, untouched by our church. Another talked about the value of brainstorming together so that, though they minister in a small church, they can feel the support of other young adults.
I took some notes that evening of the ideas and visions shared. One of those present shared their view of most church buildings that, instead of creating a climate of intimacy, common goals, and support in the Christian walk, the opposite effect was felt—old, 18th century separated, independent worship was the norm. It was stated that we get together because we need community. It almost sounds like the author of Hebrews was describing the same thing. "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25. Within the group of young adults, I sensed a desire to move from large church body to small group interactions, a desire for transparency and authenticity instead of platitudes, and a desire to truly experience the Christian life, not just "talk the talk."
That same evening, plans were laid for further 180 Symposiums to continue the vision of young adults actively involved in ministry. But it didn't end there that night. Just this week I received an email from the parent of one our youth who had committed to go on a mission trip to hold evangelistic meetings. "Our experience in Costa Rica has been amazing! Nick is at a location 30 minutes from the school up in the mountains. There are 30-40 non-believers every night! Last night ten asked for baptism. Five meetings left. Praise the Lord and give Him the glory." Our youth are not the church of tomorrow. They are fully part of our church today and have a passion to share the mission with us. All are "members in ministry" from our youngest to the most senior. The body of Christ needs all the body parts working together. Then we will see His kingdom come.