Millennials and the Mission Field: Why They Are a Match Made in Heaven
“What? You’re only 20?”
“We think it would make sense for you to go to college first, and then do what God has put on your heart.”
“You’re just in a ‘Jesus phase’ right now. You’ll grow up and calm down.”
“Maybe it would be good to go to college, just in case. Get your associate’s degree for some job security.”
These are all responses I have received after telling people that I became a missionary directly after I graduated high school. These responses are from some of my best friends and closest family members. It confused me why the people closest to me wanted to stop me from doing the thing I knew I was made for. Don’t get me wrong: I am not sharing these responses to say that their reasons and opinions do not matter. Neither am I sharing them to bring condemnation to their ideas or bring disunity.
I want to talk about this topic because young people from my generation are called to the mission field, and need to be liberated to do what God is telling them to do! There is so much talk about millennials and who they are negatively and positively, and I don’t want this post to add to that noise. I want to speak God’s redemption over young people, shine a light on what the Lord has made them for, and call them forth to be released into the things they are supposed to do with their lives.
God is on His toes in anticipation to release 18-year-olds into the mission field. Is our church ready?
The Lord is ready to send 20-year-olds to dangerous nations. Are our parents ready?
Jesus is calling young worshipers and leaders to be the voice of the church. Are our elders ready?
The more and more I train and work with people who have grown up being known as “Generation X”, the more I have noticed Godly characteristics that make them ready, capable and made for the missions call. Here are some characteristics that I have found!
We are Experiential Learners
Learners are the best disciples! Let’s take a dive into Scripture. In John 6, Jesus and His disciples arrived at a new city, and a large crowd gathered around them. It says that Jesus asked Philip how they were going to feed these 5,000 hungry people. Philip responded in the natural, “I have no idea; that seems impossible, that would cost so much money.” Then another of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, saw an opportunity to learn and stepped out. He answered in faith, “Here are two fish and five loaves.” Basically, the way that the passage ends is that no one leaves hungry, but from the beginning I feel like God was trying to emphasize the way we respond. Do we respond in the natural, saying something is impossible, or are we stepping out in faith? The young adults living today are eager to learn and step out! They want to feel and experience life in a way that defines them and shapes them! This is way so many young people are chasing after God.
The more and more I travel, or even meet people from around the world, my personal worldview is deconstructed, and changed. The more I step out, the more my bubble of beliefs is popped. Young adults want this: they want to see different sides of the world that they didn’t grow up with. They are willing to go through the uncomfortable in order to discover and to learn. That is why they are so good at going into all the earth and proclaiming His Name! They desire to learn, to discover and experience life!
We Want Something Real to Come From Our Lives
I think this fact is true for most people, but especially for the younger generation. We want our voice to be heard. We want our actions to create impacts. We want people to change, to have hope and freedom. We have dreams of a better tomorrow, and we are willing to do our part in making it happen. No missionary would ever be formed if they did not want what they did on earth to matter.
We are Willing to Go through Pain to Find Truth
Believe it or not, this generation is not just in it for themselves. We ask questions. We want truth. We are willing to go through hardships and vulnerability to find out whether God is real, and wants to use us.
This makes us amazing missionaries! As God answers our questions, we are willing to go through pain and hardships for others who need their questions answered, and who don’t know how to answer them.
We are Ready to Lose Everything for What We Believe In
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t met a generation that is more sold on shaking up social norms. I came to my Discipleship Training School and stayed without going to college, because I knew the importance of not following, but leading. I came not because of what I would gain, or what it would look like. I came because I knew it was what I was supposed to do, even in the face of people telling me I shouldn’t. I don’t know if you have heard, but being a missionary takes a lot. You lay down your finances, you give up your rights, you don’t get to decide where you are living… you surrender everything. But, it is worth it! Christ is worth it! When we know His value, young people are ready to lose it all for Him!
Youth With A Mission has foundational values that are instilled into everything our base and our fellow bases do. The sixth foundational value is to Champion Young People. It states that YWAM, as a mission, is called to champion, support, equip, make room for, and release young people. They directly state that “Young people are not only the Church of the future; they are the Church of today.” After all, it isn’t what we know that brings us into the Kingdom of God, it’s Who we know!
I will finish with a little nudge from me to you:
If you are a millennial reading this, know that you are ready to step into God’s call. The time is now. Don’t wait for support, or encouragement, wait for the word of the Lord and go when He says go! You were created to change the world!
If you are older, a sender, a parent, or a part of the church body, be encouraged to release your youth! Give them a chance! Learn how God created them, and give them space to learn and step out with what the Lord has called them to do!