When Jesus and his followers entered the town of Nain – as we read in Luke 7:11-17 – they encountered an atmosphere of hopelessness and despair. A funeral procession was underway, as people were carrying out the body of a widow’s only son. Jesus felt sorry for the woman and told her not to cry. He went over and spoke to the body, “Young man, get up!” Immediately the boy sat up and began to speak.
Imagine how electrified the atmosphere suddenly became. A miracle had happened! Life had returned!
Everyone started praising God saying that a prophet had come. “God has come to his people!” they shouted to each other, and the news spread like wildfire. A wave of hope rippled throughout Judea and the surroundings. Hope had truly come to town!
Today the European church scene is not very hopeful when it comes to the participation of young people. They are exiting in great numbers out the back door – including those who have grown up in the church.
Yet something new seems to be under way. Can we hear Jesus saying to today’s youth: “Young people, get up!”?
From Spain to Siberia, Sweden to Switzerland, new expressions of youth congregations have been emerging in a kaleidoscope of cultural forms.
Some of us in the European Leadership Team had a taste of this movement in Dresden two weeks ago when we visited the Sunday evening event of Kraftwerk, a youth cell church which holds weekly celebrations in an old factory overshadowed by a giant industrial chimney. Karsten Wolff, pastor of this church, later explained to the 35 YWAM leaders gathered at the European Leadership Forum in Hainichen in the neighbourhood of Dresden, that the survival of the church in Europe depends on the emergence of forms felt to be relevant by today’s youth. Wolff distributed a map of emerging patterns of youth churches in Europe, which is attached to this weekly word.
These movements will converge on the Naxos Warehouse in Frankfurt, Germany, 6-8 July 200, in an event called ‘e:merge’, co-sponsored by Cultural Shift, the 24-7 prayer movement, NewGenerationMinistries, Revelation, Soul Survivor, Sublime, New Rhythm and YWAM. (see www.emerge2001.net)
May we not miss what God wants from us as YWAM in encouraging this movement.
Can we hear Jesus saying to today’s youth: “Young people, get up!”?
Till next week,
PS. To see a chart, click here