Do not say, “I am too young.” Jeremiah 1:7
It starts to brew right around April.
It’s that feeling, that knowing that summer is right around the corner. Maybe you know it, too. The summer is a magical time when people are joyful and golden and hearts are lighter and more free. But I do not love the summer mainly because of beach days or barbecues or anything of that sort…those things are certainly wonderful. I love the summer because it is a season filled with weeks upon weeks of amazing teens and their encounters with Jesus Christ.
In the summer I am humbled day after day for what I am able to witness. These experiences give me great reason to laugh when I hear someone declare, as I did recently...“Millennials just don’t care about religion.”
I am inclined to invite someone who thinks so to come spend a week with me in the summer and see what I am so blessed to see.
I spend my summer with young people who shatter the generalization that teenagers just don’t care about anything. Because what I see is teens who care more than many people in this world could probably believe…young people who long for something more, something deep, something that gives their life a purpose and a meaning...teens who surrender themselves to powerful worship, who pray over and with one another, and who spend days or weeks in beautiful fellowship with one another.
I see teens totally sold out for something completely contrary to what their world is telling them to sell out for.
And it never gets less incredible or less beautiful.
I look for words to describe it, but no English suffices. Inspiring, wonderful, amazing…there is not a word that expresses the magnitude. I pass by the lines for Confession…they wrap around walls and rooms and buildings…hundreds of teens who know the power of mercy and know well their need for it…my goodness. They fill up a huge abbey on a hill in Kansas and sing loudly and joyfully to our King, with each step throughout their week of formation bringing them to a great and full surrender of their lives to a loving God. I nearly burst with joy for the opportunity to laugh with these teens and move through crowds of them and hear about their day on the river as I eat with them in the mess hall or eat pizza with them in hotel lobbies on Saturday nights.
What I feel most blessed by is the view that I can never take for granted for a moment…this view that allows me to watch as Jesus passes by each one of them in adoration. I am humbled, honored to get this most incredible seat from the stage as Christ passes by and anoints them, blesses them, showers them with His love as they reach out their hands as far as they can to touch His clothes.
They reach out because they know their need and they know they don’t need this world but a Savior.
I take flight after flight, check into hotel after hotel, and I float around from city to city, in near-speechless awe at what God is doing. I want to tell every person I meet because it is running uncontainable in my bones…
“The Church isn’t dead. You should see the teens.”