There’s something so comforting in tradition within the Church. In one generation following the next, and the next, and the next. Tried-and-true creeds, hymns and platitudes passed down from one congregation to the next. Tradition has churned out a good deal of faithful, God-fearing men and women. It’s difficult not to see the value in it.
But there has been a sharp shift in how Church is done with the more recent generations. Many are walking out their faith outside the normal parameters of church. People with love for Jesus and a heart for music aren’t just becoming Christian artists—they’re becoming secular singers with a message of truth woven into unconventional lyrics. They’re artists painting, not the Christian Bookstore Jesus of soft eyes and creamy skin, but portraits of anguish and sin with a light from Heaven shining through.
As a mid-twentysomething, I’ve been deep in the trenches of the discomfort and even distrust aimed at my generation from elders. It’s not that they don’t believe the spirit of God is in us—they just question if our faith should be walked out that way. After all, being in the world has historically almost become synonymous with being of it. So if you’re going to be a Christian and a writer, you need to be a Christian writer. As in, books publishable in the Christian fiction section, please!
At best, my generation has been said to need greater guidance and coaching. We’ve needed to be reined in. At worst, I’ve heard it said we’re wandering. By investing our talents somewhere other than the mainstream, we are wandering away from the fold.
But dare I ask—is that such a bad thing? Sometimes what’s called “wandering” is not wandering away from faith so much as it’s wandering away from tradition.
I’d rather be led by God in the wandering wilderness than sit in a pew and never hear His voice. And I hear Him clearest when I’m writing books no Christian fiction section on earth would contain. Why? Well, because aside from writings like this blog and some of the Bible-based articles I write…brothers and sisters, I don’t think I’m called to write to you.
I’m called to write to those outside the Church. The ones who aren’t going to hear messages of agape love or real redemption or repentance or change anywhere else. And the more I talk to others in my generation, the more I hear a common call rising up among us like a prayer chant in the wilderness.
Our talents are for so much more than just sowing back into our home or local church. They’re for growing the Body.
This is true of every generation. Each and every one. Few people understood when my mother hitched a ride to a place she’d never been, with people she’d never met, to begin her journey to Word Over the World. Yet her talents in music and art and service were called to something larger than her Catholic upbringing, the church she’d been raised in.
She felt the call. She heeded it. And so do I.
So if your beloved young Christian is considering sowing their God-given talents somewhere other than the traditional Church…let them. Watch them, pray for them, council with them, be with them. But let them go out into the wilderness of this world. Let their books and blogs and songs and art and talents be water on the parched soil of a dying generation. God has made them missionaries, not overseas, but into the hearts and minds, eyes and ears of their peers.
It may be a different mission field than what we’ve seen before. But it’s the one we’ve got to walk out.
We ask you to pray for us as we work out the mission God has called us to.