30 Oct 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
The gospel of salvation is attractive, offering people the free gift of eternal life by the grace, love, and mercy of a loving Father. But when the gospel of discipleship is preached whereby we are required to ‘carry the weight of the cross,’ we may find it challenging to embrace and live according to this verse.
Often times, life can overwhelm us. As a young working adult myself, I see list after list of milestones that one must accomplish by a certain age. You must be familiar with articles that sounded like, “10 things to accomplish before you are 25 years old” and “20 things you must do by 30 years old.”
Let us talk about the pressures a young working adult face that many of us are familiar with. By 30 years old, all of us are racing towards a few achievements; having a managerial role in a company or started a company, having a wide social network that is reflected in our Facebook, having invested on finances on various things (i.e., unit trust funds, shares, etc.), owning a property (condominium or landed property), meeting a life-partner and hopefully having children.
The millennial generation, those born in 1984 to 2002, is a very paradoxical generation under immense pressure to perform, one known as striving and thriving over and over! From a time of lacking in the 1920’s, we are growing up in a time of having too many choices but too little time.
Tim Elmore, author of the 'Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save their Future', wrote in pg 36-47 of the PARADOXES of the millennial generation:
- They are sheltered yet pressured.
- They are self-absorbed yet generous.
- They are social yet isolated by technology
- They are ambitious yet anxious
- They are adventurous yet protected
- They are diverse yet harmonious
- They are visionary yet vacillating
- They are high achievement yet high maintenance
Elmore recognized the Generation iY as a generation that holds immense promise for the future, but also paradoxically we are also a ‘Jekyll-and-Hyde Generation’ (pg 35).
As a young working adult, sometimes I find it challenging to navigate in this real world with the Christian faith. In a conversation I had with a friend, we discovered that the church had prepared their children as much as they can on most stage levels. We have Sunday schools, youth groups, and college groups. But passing the college level, young Christian adults were launched into the world where supposedly, their faiths were tested like a sailor out in the wild sea with no experienced captain. Tossed and turned by the waves and storms, sometimes it’s easy to forget that we have a God who can calm the raging sea in us and out of us. What I also meant is that there is little to no discipleship of young working adults.
According to Elmore (pg 19), “Generation iY will be the largest in earth’s history, and iY kids are the largest portion of that generation. Already, nearly half the world’s population is under twenty-five years old. That represents about three billion people.”
As a young working adult, my heart cry is for the older adults who have walked with God in their lives to rise up and to lead us to take on the baton of faith. Like King David who prepared his son Solomon, Moses who prepared Joshua, and Elijah who prepared Elisha, and lastly Jesus Christ who prepared his 12 disciples, it is time to train up and build the young adults.
Visiting many churches, I realized that the young working adults are also dwindling in numbers in the church. A cell group leader shared with me how children right up to college students who grew up in church, are dropping off in every stage. Instead of feeding them with more and more information in a classroom-style of what to do and what not to do, perhaps we need to listen more to the young adults’ heart and thoughts; What are they worried about? What are they interested in? What are they thinking? What is important to them? Is there anything they find challenging in their faith? What do they think about God? What are their needs?
Questions about faith should not be stifled and seen as a nuisance. But like how the storm rocked the disciples’ faith in the boat, the inevitable storm at work would also rock a young adult’s faith. Placed in that situation, akin to how the disciples seek Jesus to calm the storm, young working adults who seek God will also witness and experience the mighty hands of God calming the storm before us.
Hence, it is okay to ask questions about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of our faith when we are challenged. Asking questions is not necessarily a sign of rebellion, but a sign of a deep-seated interest to dig deeper. In fact, it helps us to have a clearer understanding of the Christian worldview in our workplace, meaning practical solutions to real problems. And who can disciple us better than someone who had been walking with God at the workplace as well who has accumulated experiences, skills, talents, and gifts?
This is my heart cry for discipleship of the young adults. Thirty years from now, the fate of Christianity in Malaysia lies in the hands of today’s mature believers who had crossed their ‘Red sea’, defeated their ‘Goliath’, and sacrificed their ‘little Isaacs.’ What you had been through, whether failure or success, are immensely valuable to us!
Also, as a young adult, I plead for the church to build authentic relationships instead of more programs and structures, while allowing individual uniqueness to be expressed yet stewarding us to become one body in Christ. No longer should we only look unto our pastors to do all the discipleship works but mature believers in the body of Christ as well.
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