Passion 2013 wrapped up in Atlanta last week. Passion, the conference to end all conferences for college-aged Christians, was attended by upwards of 60,000 young evangelicals and sends a host of amped up college students back to their campuses with renewed vision, passion and excitement for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
However, in this emotional experience, many come home feeling as if they have been immediately called to missionary work in dangerous parts of the world, or called to start some ministry as soon as possible. The younger generation often feels that older generations have not done enough in this or that and it is their generation’s job to change everything. These sentiments are all over the Facebook pages and posts of the Passion 2013 attendees and fans.
It’s a good thing overall that a young generation is seeking to make a difference for Jesus, even at the sacrifice of their life and comfort, and this youthful vigor is nothing new. Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote about this over 150 years ago in his masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov.
Tough words from the king of Russian literature, but tough words that, if heeded, would produce tenfold the impact upon the church and the world at large. I will never forget the advice given to me a few years back by an older, wiser friend who had just planted a church near my hometown. I, as an eager gotta-do-it-yesterday college kid was (and am) excited about church planting. But my friend said to me something to the effect of, “These are not your best years of ministry. Spend this time learning, listening and maturing”. This has stuck with me, and the burden of training, maturing and growing has been my passion, as of late.
“These young men unhappily fail to understand that the sacrifice of life is, in may cases, the easiest of all sacrifices. They fail to understand that to sacrifice five or six years of their seething youth to hard and tedious study, if only to multiply ten-fold their powers of serving the truth and the cause they have set before them as their foal, is utterly beyond the strength of many of them.” (The Brothers Karamazov, Book I, Chapter V)
If I may, I impart the same advice to the young, eager and undisciplined. Get under good leadership before you try to become good leadership. The church of the 21st century will be better for it.