Embracing the Creativity and Passion of the Younger Generations

by Chris Brooks

On April 1, I became the CEO of Mosaix Global Network. Founded in 2004, this organization represents a movement that is the embodiment of finding common ground between conservatives and liberals, and is committed to building biblical unity within the Body of Christ.

I have always had a heart for the local church, and a deep belief that the local church lies at the center of God’s strategy for individual and corporate redemption. Having served the local church as a youth pastor, family pastor, and an executive pastor, I have learned a lot about what local churches can do to engage, support, and uplift their local communities. Organizations like the Christian Community Development Association and Urban Youth Worker Institute have helped shape my thinking, as have my subscriptions to Harvard Business Review and The Economist. Truly, properly engaging a complex community is no easy matter.

Yet, somehow, we in the Church too often behave like it is. We stick to decades-old methods like VBS and door-to-door evangelism. We expect people to accept Jesus Christ BEFORE we even know much about them. We talk a lot, listen very little, and wonder why our results are not as robust as they used to be.

Maybe it is time to truly empower younger leaders with fresh eyes and even fresher ideas. Yes, I’m talking about the Millennials. Some really great research on this amazing generation can be found here. Generally, this generation is deeply committed to justice, is seeking to follow Jesus in new and theologically sound ways, and are engaged in some digital evangelism strategies that even Gen X (my generation) is unlikely to fully understand. God has given us an amazing group of younger leaders to train up and release!

I make it sound so easy, but it is a bit more complex. Millennials can be hard to pin down; they often refuse to be defined by a single characteristic or ideology. The systemic racial and ethnic segregation of the local church, however, is antithetical to the diverse environments in which they live and breathe, and the wildly diverse friendships that they have formed. They long for a Church that embodies authentic unity and inclusion beyond the rhetoric of diversity that seems to be everywhere these days. For their generation, the credibility of the gospel and of Jesus Himself is validated wherever diverse believers are living life and worshipping God together as one.

My life’s callings are 1) Biblical Justice – which I personally define as “righting wrongs in the name of Jesus” and 2) Unity in the Body of Christ. I am a firm believer that a movement of multiethnic and economically diverse churches can profoundly shape the trajectory of America’s future, inform this nation’s story, and help to heal many of the deep divisions within the Body of Christ.

Integration is the opposite of compartmentalization, just as unity is the opposite of division. I believe that the racial and ethnic integration of the American Church will have three profound effects on the landscape of American Christianity (with global implications):

  1. We will finally be aligned with the prayer of our LORD in John 17.
  2. We will look more like our changing society, which will give both Jesus and the Church additional credibility in an increasingly skeptical society.
  3. We will finally be able to effectively reach out to all communities, including and maybe especially Islam.

In the 21st century, local churches must advance more than good words and sound theology; we must advance unity and biblical justice along spiritual, social, and financial fronts to get beyond rhetoric and to get results.

One of the key things that we must consider is that America will be a majority-minority nation somewhere around 2043. Let that sink in. This requires many things, including investment in and support of pastors of color that God is raising up. The opportunities are all around us to transform our evangelism methods to become much more efficient and effective.

Pastors and ministry leaders pursuing the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:11-21) need strong allies. There is no better time for all of us to begin working together as the Body of Christ, embracing our differences for the sake of those who don’t yet know our incredible Savior. How are you doing this today?

 

The son of a Jamaican mother and an American father, Chris Brooks is an ordained pastor whose passions are biblical justice and the well-being of children, youth, and families. He has served within the church, the Willow Creek Association, and World Vision, and taught Urban Studies on the faculty of a Christian University. He currently serves as the CEO of Mosaix. Chris has been married to Bobbi for 20 years. They have four beautiful children, and live in the Twin Cities.