From the General Secretary: Next Generation Mission

By January 23, 2015 No Comments

Fast Company’s November 2014 cover story is resonating with the next generation: “Find Your Mission.”

By Tom De Vries

Fast Company’s November 2014 cover story is resonating with the next generation: “Find Your Mission.”

Torri, my 22-year-old, recent-college-graduate daughter, brought the magazine home for Thanksgiving.

Highlighting the next generation’s movement toward mission was the story of Casey Gerald, who was a speaker at his own graduation from Harvard Business School last year. His 18-minute speech has been viewed online more than 100,000 times. It focused on the usual—changing the world, making a difference. But there was also a clear and compelling call to embrace the “new bottom line in business…the impact you have on your community and the world around you. No amount of profit could make up for a purpose.”

The next generation’s focus on purpose over profit is a deep and transformational commitment that has the potential to change our collective future. It is a turn away from comforts and compensation packages toward engagement in a mission that provides a greater and more meaningful return.

How does engaging in Christ’s kingdom mission tap into the sense of mission that is significant for the next generation? It leads us to have a clear and compelling vision of what it means to respond to Christ’s call: “Follow me.” It leads us back to the commissioning of the disciples in Matthew 28:19-20; we, too, are challenged to make disciples.

Transformed & Transforming is a collective and collaborative commitment to be the church of Jesus Christ serving our Lord and our world.

We become participants in the mission of Jesus Christ together—churches turning outward and serving the communities around them; Christians building authentic relationships with those who are not yet followers of Jesus, engaging in God’s healing work in the lives of people, seeing people come to faith.

In The Missional Journey, my friend Bob Logan shares the core components of missional engagement that bring the kingdom of God into contact with societal transformation:

  • Sacrificial service: understanding mission as following Jesus’ example by reaching out to those who need hope, help, and healing through putting our love into action
  • Authentic relationships: connecting in community with deep honesty and transparency; sharing joys and struggles, doubts and convictions; loving one another as we walk by faith
  • Spiritual transformation: as we embrace and embody the gospel, we invite others into the transformation we have experienced and help others encounter the grace and mercy that Jesus Christ offers

Living and loving like Jesus is not a banal call to action. It’s a commitment to engaging in the mission of Jesus in ways that form and transform us and send us out to serve as transforming agents for Jesus Christ in our world.

The disciple who may have been closest to Jesus writes in 1 John 2:6: “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did” (NLT). That is the mission of all generations and the purpose to which God has called us, one that will be transformational in people’s lives, in our churches, and in our world.

Tom De Vries is general secretary of the Reformed Church in America.