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OUR FUTURE IS IN THE CROSSHAIRS!



An Open Letter

To Present and Future Leaders


Our future is in the crosshairs: Gen X (65.2 million in U.S.), Gen Y (72.1 million), Gen Z (68 million). Or 74 percent of the population worldwide. Three generations at risk of extinction—Gen X on the edge, with Y Z dangling from the precipice.


With each new emerging generation, our ranks are receding toward extinction. We don’t need another study or fancy statistical analysis to ascertain this. Arbitrarily select a western world corps or church for a visit on any given Sunday. Sit in the back pew and have a look around.


Note: I’m writing from a Salvation Army perspective because it’s where I work, love and play, but this is applicable to many non-army ministries as well.


Yes, there are a few XYZ outlier corps and ministries out there struggling. If lucky, you might happenchance on one. Struggling because they no longer fit the cultural mold. Struggling because they meet systemic resistance at every level. Struggling because their heartbeat requires a progressive mindset.


It isn’t a loud, in-your-face kind of resistance; it is under the surface, barely discerning and satanically subtle. Most resistors are unaware that they have this disposition. They would argue, convincingly, taking an oath on the Bible, that it doesn’t exist. Again, I remind you, take a seat on any back pew and look around.


This has become personal for me. I am a retired Salvation Army officer, an octogenarian, now on the outside looking in. People I care about have either left or are struggling (both officer and lay). That struggle carries over to our training colleges (seminaries), with attendances at an all-time low.


I no longer face the hierarchical pressures and systemic resistance I once did. I can see more clearly now. Part of that clarity comes in taking my own ‘pew’ poll. Since retiring, I’ve seen a proliferation of very gifted, committed, and extremely ministry-minded XYZ’s elect to choose employee status over officership. Had they chosen the latter, most of them would rate right up there in the top ten percent


Why is that? I wondered. Ergo! The catalyst for my poll. The response was both intriguing and eye-opening. In so many words, they all responded to the “why” this way: (Paraphrasing) “I am called and committed to reach this generation for the Lord. As an employee, I have more freedom and am not bound by the appointment structure and its confining accouterments. I can choose where and how I want to serve.”


My follow up question was, “What about the security and exceptional active and retirement benefits that officership provides?” Their response: (Again paraphrasing) “Shame on you for even thinking that question! We were called to serve, not to benefit.” Yes, shame on me.


As I write, some of our most gifted XYZ officers have released their grip on the precipice edge, giving up that security and moving on. Other XYZer’s dropping one-by-one. Poof! Gone.


Does all this make me angry? Yes, of course, but even more so, sadness and grief are the overwhelming emotions I’m feeling now. Because I care deeply. Because I desperately want the founding ethos of this movement to go on replicating itself. Because it pains me to think that we’re looking at the future through the wrong sights.


My concluding point and plea? Present and future leaders, I invite you to take a seat in the back pew, have a look around, and scope it through the crosshairs…


IT WILL BE EYE-OPENING!

PLEASE DON'T SHOOT IT DOWN!


I have become all things to all people

so that by all possible means

I might save some.

(1 Cor. 9:22)


PS

Know someone between ages 18-29 who would benefit from RevHi?

Send them here: www,revolutionhawaii.org

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