A unique opportunity that I have is that each week I get to help students process the world around them. I get to help them combine deep spiritual truth with the reality that they experience in their everyday lives.
This is the word I shared with my youth ministry students on the evening after election day.
Like many of you, I woke up this morning to the news that our Nation elected a new president. And like many of you this news brought heaviness and a lot of questions. I wanted to take a moment to address that and hopefully bring some united perspective to all of this.
When you look at me I think it’s very apparent that there are some differences between us. For some of us we are very different, and for others we share more in common. It’s difficult for me to hide that I am a 34 year old, white, middle class, male. I was born in this country, I have a job, a wife, and consider myself a Christian. I know the same is not true for many of you here in this room. And for many of you, you might be feeling that because you don’t fit my same description, you have a target on your back. Many of you don’t look like me, you don’t live in a quiet little neighborhood like mine, you might speak with an accent because you or your parents weren’t born here in the US. I know there are those of you here, who wouldn’t identify as straight (whether you’re telling anyone yet or not), there are those of you here that wouldn’t identify as a Christian (let alone really claiming those deep beliefs for your life). This place is a spectrum of colors of which many people would put me on the end that rarely has to consider my color. And now as our country gets ready for a new president you might look at those things that are differences between you and me and feel things like nervousness, disappointment, fear, sadness, isolation, confusion, and I’m sure a whole flood of emotions I don’t even know about. But please know this, I see you and am here with you. My heart was heavy for us today also. As I heard and read the raw emotion today I was fully aware that people that look like me have put someone in leadership that many of you feel like threatens your future, and some your very life.
As I was caught in these thoughts and emotions I had somewhat of a turning point. I looked at my schedule. I looked at what I had planned out for my day today. I remembered that I got to spend my day preparing to open the doors of a youth center and welcome in over a hundred students. A group of students who represent over a dozen different nationalities, and many mixed race backgrounds, who come together as one each Wednesday night. I thought about what we had planned for tonight. That we were going to be talking about you being World Changers. That as you combine ‘what you are called to do’ with ‘who you are called to be’ you will have tremendous impact on the world around you. I remembered that myself and the other leaders here have been helping you get a vision for not just blending in and living a mundane basic life. And as I remembered this, the best part of all this is that this was the plan before any news came out about who our country chose to lead us. Like you, what I did today was exactly what I would have done no matter what the results of that election were.
I need you to remember that no one can take away your ability to lead. No one can hold you back from bringing extraordinary Christlike love to the people around you in whatever context you’re called to. Now more than ever, we know that we can’t rely on any other leader to create the kind of world that you… that we can make together as we look to Christ’s example. Many people will encourage Christians to pray and many people will talk about trusting God through these times. I fully agree and believe along with them that God is in control. But I do not think we can leave it there. We must pray and trust, but we must be motivated to action. Personal action. So please ask yourself and ask the Lord, as we look more into Isaiah 61:1, what do you want me to do? Because I believe that you’ve called me to bring hope, bring healing, and bring freedom what can I do today to bring the change you’re inviting me into. Nothing and no one can hold you back from bringing that kind of change to your world.
As you grow to be an amazing Rising Generation of World Changers I hope that as the world around you does things that make you sad, angry, lonely, confused, and disappointed that you look at your schedule today and realize that you’re already got a day ahead of you fully planned to create the type of world that you long for.