The faith and work people are getting old.
That was one of the conclusions at a recent Faith and Work meet up in Dallas, Texas, including many of the voices who care about these issues. Looking around the room, it seemed to be true. Middle-aged folks were everywhere. No one was under thirty, except for the few kids who accompanied their aging parents to the event.
Forgive me if it seems harsh, but I don’t want to sugarcoat the problem we are all facing. The faith and work movement is getting old. It is time to educate and empower the next generation.
That is why I love Jubilee. Tonight, the Christian Coalition for Outreach (CCO) will gather thousands of college students in the Pittsburgh convention center to talk about vocation. As far as I am aware, the CCO is unique in its approach to college ministry. Rather than focus primarily on short term mission trips, CCO ministers encourage students to consider the mission opportunity of their college work and the career they will enter after college.
Keynote speakers address the broad story of the gospel: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration. But here is where Jubilee is different. When it is time to go deeper than the broad Christian story, they turn to specific vocational application rather than general Christian living. Breakout speakers are vocational experts who talk with college students about how to serve God in individual professions like physics, education, business, performing arts, robotics, health and politics, law and justice, social sciences, and tons more. This event is a “who’s who” of faith and work leaders and practitioners.
This year, tonight, The High Calling worked with three Jubilee students to tell their dreams for serving God vocationally. With all of the confusion about millennials in the workplace, with all of the fear about this generation’s sense of entitlement, we wanted to offer more uplifting stories. So we invited college students to talk with us. They told us about the inspiring work God was doing in them in order to help others celebrate God’s work in their own lives. We asked, “How is God shaping your view of work and how do you hope to serve him in your career as a result?” Six finalists worked with professional mentors to sharpen their story’s narrative and theology. Then Fourth Line Films helped us choose the top three stories that would inspire others. The director of Fourth Line traveled with his film crew to each student and worked with them to bring their stories to life.
On Friday night, 2500 college students will vote on which story best helps people celebrate God’s gift of work and vocation. Don’t worry. We are celebrating all of these stories with scholarships and, frankly, tears. If you have a few minutes, you will be inspired by their dreams for serving the world and honoring God through work.
Dylan Weston is plans to take his skills to the ranching and dairy industry.
Allie Gray is a business student who is working with a fellow student to create a chocolate shop.
Keith McCarthy is a machinist with the heart of a teacher.
[UPDATE 2.15.2014] In my original lead, I cited The Gospel Coalition as the hosting organization of our Dallas meet up. Not only did The Gospel Coalition not host the event, they weren’t even present! However, my error did connect me with Bethany Jenkins late last night at a Jubilee mixer, and we had a great conversation. Just to be clear, I love what all of these organizations are trying to do, and we at The High Calling are facing the same struggle of motivating and inspiring the next generation. So many young people want their work to have purpose. Yes! And we want to help them see that all work can have purpose. There is no higher calling than what God has called you to do right now.