In several Catches this week we are recalling to everyone some of the characteristics of the Jesus Movement that fostered a revival 50 years ago, in seeking to create, not another movement, but an environment conducive to God’s direct involvement with the current body of Christ however He might choose to work. We’ve been saying for some time that the message of the Jesus Movement was about Jesus and how His gospel related to the deep, unresolved needs of our generation for love, meaning, community, peace and justice. Many of those same needs are present today in this century’s generations, just in different ways.
For instance, there will never be anyone who does not have a need for love. It’s just that this current generation is particularly lonely. Anxiety and loneliness are the two major struggles that keep coming up in our most recent responses from our “Your Participation Matters” study.
Sheltering in place has left many of us isolated, and social networking isn’t emotionally fulfilling. Millennials need hugs just as much as anybody. Most millennials are hard working, but with so many working from home now, a job connection is no longer a social connection. As one millennial has said, “Your job description is not your self description.”
The vast majority of our millennials are connected globally and feel the impact of broad, global trends more than they feel loved and supported by us boomers who are capable, but perhaps unwilling to get close to them. I say this because despite being a hyper-connected and globally minded generation, the millennials we know say they feel lonely — and just one in three says they feel deeply cared for by those around them, and even less know of anyone who indicates they believe in them.
One of our Millennial respondents in our recent study said, “I had to chase after the man who eventually ‘stepped into my life.’ Not even my father let me know that greatness was available for me, that I had worth, and that God could use my life to do some incredible things.” It sounds like we who are older have some work to do.
And no wonder they’re anxious. One reason boomers aren’t more anxious is because they know they won’t be around much longer. They’re in the twilight years. Millennials have the bulk of their lives ahead of them and are staring at a frightening world that is drying up, burning up, dying off by the hundreds of thousands, with a lack of clear representative leadership. Yes, indeed, they have reason to be anxious.
How does Jesus and His gospel relate to all this? He brings peace, love, forgiveness, and the knowledge that His heavenly Father has everything under control in spite of the chaos going on in the world; God is in charge.
So in just the same way that boomers found peace, hope and love in Jesus in 1971, so millennials are finding peace, hope and love in Jesus in 2021. We need a revival.