YOUNG LEADERS SPEAK OUT

I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised that last Sabbath afternoon’s panel/audience conversation about race relations in the Seventh-day Adventist church in America was a standing-room only event (here at Andrews University). The conversation was candid, but the spirit that prevailed was both healthy and essential to any future change in our national church. What I’m especially proud of, however, is the prayerful, cogent thinking evidenced by the team of Andrews University student leaders who organized the event. Led by Livvy Knott-Ruiz, AU Student Association president this year, this diverse band of young leaders not only effectively facilitated the 2+ hour conversation, they ended the event by sharing with the audience a formal statement they prepared for (and have subsequently delivered to) the administration of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. As a panel member, I had no idea the young leaders had prepared a resolution. But as I read their statement, projected onto the towering wall of Buller Hall, my heart rejoiced in the simple, humble but wise appeal they make. Rather than insert their recommendation to the NAD officers here, please find it at this link (https://www.facebook.com/andrewssa/posts/791148580953919) and carefully, prayerfully read their statement. You may share their recommendation by placing this link on your own Facebook page or retweet the link on Twitter. I’m sure their youthful appeal will be heard not only across this nation, but around the world. And why not? Surely in the economy of God the time has come for Jesus’ last prayer (expressed four times) to be answered: “That they may be one, Father, as We are one” (count those four prayers in John 17). I continue to believe that the young are God’s strategic endtime key (see Psalm 110). With social media as their platform, they are able to effect change on levels we have not seen in the past. But it is clear their interest is not change, simply for the sake of change. Rather, belonging to a world and nation deeply in need of the gospel of justice, equality and compassionate humanitarian intervention, the young of the church are willing to bend their minds, their energies and immerse their lives in seeking to bring healing change to both the church and the world. To that end the young need our prayers, deserve our example, and will flourish with our personal support and encouragement. Thank you for the way you affirm the young disciples of Jesus in your life and community, for your willingness to journey alongside of them in this critical chapter of earth history.

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