Wonderful & Terrible
Yesterday I got the chance to attend the Orange Tour, a conference which brings together thought leaders from all over the country to discuss doing ministry both for and with the next generation. This year the conference was called “See you Tomorrow” and focused on how we can help kids and teenagers build a faith that will last, how we can help a generation become confident enough to keep following Jesus even when their expectations are not met, because “tomorrow is both wonderful and terrible.”
Throughout the main sessions we walked through the story of Peter (that ought to sound pretty familiar). Peter who was always a little headstrong and very confident: both in his act first – think later actions and in his faith. Peter, who was bold enough to step out of the boat, vehemently denied the possibility of his denial, and took swift action to cut off the ear. Peter who was left in the courtyard in fear, denying his faith to a lowly slave girl. Peter whose confidence was shaken, his certainty who he thought Jesus was and what Jesus was meant to do was shattered. We have all or will all experience moments like this, what they called, “courtyard moments,” where our personal experience doesn’t line up with our expectations or understandings.
Yesterday we talked through how we can equip the next generation to have a faith that will last in the midst of the truth that “tomorrow is both wonderful and terrible.” How can we look at what Jesus taught all throughout the Gospels, specifically in his interactions with Peter to give them a faith that will last?
- Jesus promised Peter life will be painful.
We can hand this generation a faith that works for every situation today, so it will work for whatever happens to them tomorrow.
- Jesus showed Peter how to be family.
We can hand this generation a faith that isn’t dependent on you today, so it will hold up without you tomorrow. Teach them how to love God and how to love others, to be in community.
- Jesus anticipated Peter’s failure.
We can hand this generation a faith that is not only built on success today so it will endure through their failures tomorrow.
- Jesus gave Peter a place to go back to.
We can hand this generation a faith that is connected to a safe place today so they have somewhere to go back to tomorrow.
And last but not least…
- Jesus gave Peter something to do.
We can hand this generation a faith that is doing something today so they will keep doing something tomorrow.
Yesterday was all about the next generation but let’s be honest – we’ve all had ‘courtyard moments’ and even for those of us who have been Christians for a long time, sometimes life happens and we once again find ourselves there. However,
the same that was true for Peter is true for us too; God moves towards us even when we move away from God.
In John 21 Peter goes back to fishing, back to what he had always known, but Jesus comes to him, gently reminding him of his calling – one that remains despite his doubts, despite his denial, one that is for tomorrow. When our faith is built not on something we think or something we do but on someone – that is a faith that lasts. That is a faith that transforms the world around us. That is a faith that can both survive and transform the wonderful and terrible tomorrow.
Next Generation Pastor