Plurals

There is an interesting article in the recent issue of Connection, an SDMI newsletter that comes out once a month.  The article is called “Meet the Plurals!” – just like that.  So without further ado, let’s get to the details here so you can get acquainted (info below w/ bullet points cited from this article, September 2013 Edition):

  • Plurals (also known as iGeneration, Generation We, and Generation Z) include all children born in 1997 or later.  Meaning, the oldest in this group are turning 16 years in 2013.
  • Plurals are 67 million strong and they will be the last North American generation with a caucasian majority (just a note of fact from the article).
  • They are growing up and being raised in a very pluralistic society, which will have a lasting impact on their lives.  This pluralistic feature will lend itself to tolerance like never before seen as they define and seek purpose.
  • Plurals are the first generation born into a truly “digital” world.  The cell phone is considered a necessity, a “birthright” as the article indicates.  According to Forrester analyst Tracey Stokes, “The only world they know is a digital one – where they connect anytime, anywhere, and to anyone.”  The internet and media will shape their understanding and their lives, making this the major gateway to communicating with them.
  • Plural girls are more optimistic than Plural boys about earning good grades, going to college, and changing the world for the better.
  • Plurals are less optimistic about the “American Dream” ~ they do not believe they will do well and the American Dream itself seems to fall into what’s relative to that person.

I share this with you just to point to the fact that these 67+ million will absolutely need the life-saving hope and love of Jesus!  The Church, like never before, will have to be creative and responsive to children, teens, and future generations.  But one things is certain:  The Church does not need to be culturally relevant ~ it needs to be relationally connected to the Plurals.

With each Generation, and all the titles that get linked to them, there have been incredible ways and means to minister to them, to share the Gospel, and to live out the Kingdom life before them and with them.  The saying is true, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  We do well to see that and adopt that as the body of Christ.  We (and when I say “we” I mean “The Church” as a whole) will need new leaders, new mentors, new disciples, new investors to the Plurals.  It is true at the local, regional, and national level.  As Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes a little child like this, in My Name, welcomes Me” (Matthew 18, v.5).

In lieu of that, let me say “Thank You!” to each and every one of our Nursery Workers, our Kid’s Church Team, our VBS Leaders & Servants, and our Youth Ministry Personnel.  You are shining the light and you are making a difference!  We appreciate your investment and sacrifice, and I want you to know we are shoulder-to-shoulder in the work of the Gospel.  This starts and continues in the home ~ but is reinforced and encouraged by the Church.  Many thanks to all who so generously give and lavish their time, energy, and resources in the direction of future generations!  The work will continue…

In gratitude and humility, with His love,

Porter

Crisis

The very word incites a mixture of feelings, emotions, and uncertainty.  Nobody welcomes a crisis – do they?  I mean, who invites or looks forward to a crisis of any sort?

Consider the definition: “any event that is intended or expected to be, an unstable or dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, community, or a whole society.”  Furthermore, it states: “Crises (pl) are deemed to be negative changes in the security or stability of political, societal, or environmental affairs, especially when they occur abruptly, or with little or no warning” (ref. wikipedia.com).

For the purpose of what we are talking about here in this blog, we are interested in spiritual crisis, or crises, which certainly do exist and happen.  A baseline understanding of the Word of God and the records and accounts therein show and demonstrate that faith, the faith of those that have gone before us and our faith today, in the here and now, will confront crisis.  In fact, no one is excluded and no one gets a “crisis-free” pass in this life.  That is true for individuals, groups, communities, and entire societies.

There are spiritual crises that we will face.  Some are frequent, others are once in a lifetime.  Others are more individually based while some test families, communities, regions, and nations.  Sure, there are preventive measures that we can take to help head off certain crises ~ but the facts remain that there are many that we can neither see nor prepare for.  Denial, rejection, or ignorance does nothing to help alleviate the reality that they occur.  God allows crises to come into our life for a specific reason or purpose, and we do Him an injustice when we fail to do two very important things: (1) Draw closer and closer to Him; and (2) Learn something from the crisis itself.

Consider what Oswald Chambers wrote about crisis some 110 years ago now:

We presume that we would be ready for battle if confronted with a great crisis, but it is not the crisis that builds something within us— it simply reveals what we are made of already. Do you find yourself saying, “If God calls me to battle, of course I will rise to the occasion?”  If you are not doing the task that is closest to you now, which God has engineered into your life, when the crisis comes, instead of being fit for battle, you will be revealed as being unfit. Crises always reveal a person’s true character. Are you saying, “But I can’t be expected to live a sanctified life in my present circumstances; I have no time for prayer or Bible study right now; besides, my opportunity for battle hasn’t come yet, but when it does, of course I will be ready”? No, you will not. If you have not been worshiping in everyday occasions, when you get involved in God’s work, you will not only be useless yourself but also a hindrance to those around you.  (My Utmost for His Highest, September 10).

You might say, or ask:  What does that mean?  Here is what I get from it:  We must be ready, spiritually, for the crises that will come; ones we cannot see in the here and now.  And we do this by truly worshiping God in our everyday lives, leaning on and learning from God, and abiding in His power and presence moment by moment.  Exercising basic Christian disciplines prepares us for the crisis ~ so that are are rightly related to God in the present.  Is the Holy Spirit the active presence in us, today?  If not, let us by all means yield to Him right now and give Him full access.

Crisis will come and they will bring challenges with them.   So let’s be ready!  With God’s direction and help ~ which comes through worship and sincere community with Him ~ we can be.

Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world! (1 John 4:4)