God is an amazing God, and He’s continued to show that day after day, month after month, and year after year.
At Growing Young Adventists, we are so grateful for the endeavors of the North American Division [NAD] to include and laud young adult leadership. We truly believe we are headed in the right direction and our intent is genuine, even altruistic.
One such example is the inclusion of student government presidents from our Adventist campuses [AIA] and collegiate officers from Adventist Christian Fellowship [ACF] as voting members of the NAD’s year-end meetings [NADYEM]. For these collegiate leaders, NADYEM is a great honor and this spotlight on the next generation is a “feel good” for all.
The hope and challenge is for the Adventist Church to build on such moments– to integrate and empower young hearts not only into leadership, but into every facet of church life. Unless we intentionally foster a more longitudinal strategy for church life and discipleship, we will find even our brightest and best being challenged in forming part of everyday, Adventist faith community.
Beyond the warmth of the spotlight for events such as NADYEM, think of what might be developed to extend warmth into our Unions, Conferences, and ultimately into the local church setting!
In billion-dollar corporate arenas and successful specialty ministries we know of tremendous mentoring programs such as health care internships and residencies and summer camp staff leadership development.
What is preventing us at Division, Union, and Conference levels from fostering leadership laboratories? What potential is waiting to be unlocked at the local level from apprenticing next generations! We should never let busyness nor the fear of change or fear loss distract us from harvesting a passion for God in our young people.
The hope we have for this coming year is that we might intentionally innovate methods that can build on the momentum of our meetings.
Our hope is to model – especially for local leaders – our longitudinal intention to foster skills, ability, and ownership in the hearts of young Adventists. I’m praying we will not allow our fears or indifference prevent us from capturing this opportunity to change the climate of Adventism in our Division.
In 1 Kings 18 we ready about Elijah atop mount Carmel. As he sat with his face between his knees, feeling discouraged, there was a cloud filled with blessings beginning to swell. There is a movement of young adults within the church looking for more, and they need to be fostered and mentored. Filled with the Holy Spirit, this movement is, as the cloud of deliverance in Elijah’s day, swelling up with blessings upon God’s people in these last days. Let us gird up our loins, as Elijah did, and run before our young people teaching them the ways of the Lord and leadership.
Before you go, please take a moment and read Jessica’s essay and empathize with her sentiments. From her heartfelt counsel, let us work together to make the Adventist Church the best place for all generations of leaders to grow.