Ever since I could remember, God has given me both a passion for ministry and a passion for art, specifically filmmaking. For a long time I found myself having to choose one or the other”
Garrison Hayes, Senior Film Major, Southern University.
We hear often how millenials are leaving the church. The volume on the desertion rate has certainly been turned up. Last weekend I spent some time at Southern Adventist University, speaking for their missions and evangelism weekend. There I received an injection of hope and saw at least three things that increased my confidence as we try to reach the generation that God misses the most.
1. Quality of young (future) pastors.
On Thursday and Friday I interviewed 20 ministerial candidates. Their stories of conversion elevated the hope meter in my heart. One that ran cross-country for a public university, but gave it up to preach. Several pastor’s kids that are following their father’s footsteps, not bitter at the church, but intentionally looking to better it. Exceptional future women pastors. Clear on the Gospel. Experienced in soul winning (not just soul searching). One that fought in two wars. One that gang banged and wants to start an inner- city ministry for his ex-peers. I believe that it takes this generation to reach this generation. These young people give me hope.
2. Quality of intentionality.
The campus is full of opportunities for student missions. Not only are the theology students the ones that are doing evangelism, but there is an opportunity for the student body to go on short term, long term or permanent term missions. Since 2002, the Evangelism Resource Center has sent over 800 students to this life changing event, with more than 24,000 baptisms. I spoke to one student after another (not just theology) about their missions experience, and could not help but smile. This level of intentionality is also reflected in the LIFE Groups on Campus, led and grown by students. The chaplains and Theology teachers are clear on the role of mission in a young person’s life and intentional about connecting vocation and faith.
3. Quality of programing.
Friday night vespers. A time to reflect, restore and rejoice in the Sabbath. I was significantly and specifically blessed by the music. The rendition of Oceans and Revelation Song with a full orchestra was mind blowing. I have always believed that God did not stop inspiring music in 1853, and that contemporary music, if done well, can be a source of connection and inspiration. It was Friday night.
I finish with a story. Garrison Hayes is a Senior Film Mayor. He is a leader on campus. Extremely talented and committed. On Friday night, him, along with 4 others, made public a decision to consider going into full time ministry. For Garrison it was about merging ministry and media in his life. I have always believed we should have the best and the brightest in ministry. He certainly fits that category.
“Ever since I could remember, God has given me both a passion for ministry and a passion for art, specifically filmmaking. For a long time I found myself having to choose one or the other, the time I spent making movies was time spent away from ministry and vice-versa. Finally God opened my eyes that his calling on my life was to merge the two.” @garrison628
Thanks, Garisson. Thanks, Southern. Thanks, Jesus. Today, I am hopeful.
Follow Garrison @garrison628