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Every generation has its formative historical moments: COVID-19, for example, or 9/11, the Vietnam War, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., or World War II. Events like these shape the psyche of a generation and affect worldviews.

I often wonder what events and experiences are shaping the faith of today’s young adults. The rise and fall of megachurches and celebrity pastors? The great migration of believers from south to north? The “de-churching” of the West? The fragmentation of North American congregations and denominations around cultural issues?

Without a doubt, it’s a confusing time. I am reminded of the concluding chapter of Ecclesiastes, where the Teacher says, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, … before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken” (Eccles. 12:1, 6). How are we contributing to the breaking of golden bowls and severing of silver cords for our young adults?

While every generation faces its own challenges, I am thankful that God continually raises up faithful young people to be witnesses in his world. During my years serving in Haiti with Resonate Global Mission, I was privileged to be an encouragement and mentor to so many young people, many of whom were preparing for ministry.

I will always remember one young man, Caleb, who was a youth ministry leader for a local church in Port-au-Prince. Caleb was tireless. In addition to his ministry, he worked to provide for his mother and sister, and he went to university in the afternoons. Caleb was relentlessly positive, even as he faced nearly constant adversity. His love of prayer, worship, and Scripture were infectious. Caleb was sitting in class on the afternoon of Jan. 12, 2010, when he became one of the untold thousands of students killed in Haiti’s earthquake. As I write these words a few days before the 14th anniversary of the earthquake, I remain thankful for Caleb’s life and the many “Calebs” God is raising up.

As a denomination, we have committed to “listen to the voices of every generation, shaping us for ministry together.” This, the third milestone of the Journey 2025 Ministry Plan, is about paying attention to the voices of every generation, especially our young people. There’s constant temptation for older generations to tune out the voices of the younger.

But listening is not enough. The voices of our young people also need to shape us as a community of faith. Like sandpaper on wood, the Holy Spirit uses the voices of young people to mold the Christian community into a form useful for God’s mission to his beautiful and hurting world. Without being formed by those voices, the joints of the church won’t fit together to support its mission.

In these Our Shared Ministry pages, you will hear challenging and inspiring stories of young adults courageously serving God and his world. As you read the stories, pay attention to how God is preparing them. Our young adults have lived through a lot in our churches and societies. Give thanks for them and let them shape your own faith.

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