January 13, 2010

That Army, Rightly Trained

2009 1536 31 capE STOOD AT THE BASE OF THE MOUNTAIN WITH WHAT MUST HAVE BEEN THE worst odds in the history of humankind. What was he thinking? Critics anticipated failure. Why even go? A boy underqualified, overmatched, and from a human perspective . . . doomed. The Bible says Goliath looked down at David and underestimated him. Everyone that day assumed failure for David.

The old story has some striking parallels today. Soon Jesus will come again. Soon He will part the clouds and take His children home. It’s time . . . no, it’s past time. A simple scan of the Internet or local newspapers provides evidence that the time is ripe for His return. Signs are being fulfilled before our very eyes. But often overlooked are the signs in the church. Equally exciting signals of the end are the events that will unfold in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

One such evidence is the existence of an “army of youth” trained to enthusiastically take the three angels’ messages to the world. On every continent of the globe young people are asking, sometimes begging, to be more involved in this movement called Seventh-day Adventism. By the tens of thousands they are taking a bold stand to become the church of today. Why is this phenomenon” happening now? Because we are weary of amusement, tired of PowerPoint, annoyed by unfulfilling music, and weighed down by committees. We want a church that boldly proclaims that Jesus is coming soon.

2009 1536 31Generation of Youth for Christ (GYC) represents a small contingent of this army. Last December in San Jose, attendance swelled to nearly 6,000. Our Sabbath outreach was a remarkable highlight. Fifty buses deployed enthusiastic youth into the city.

As they stormed the streets searching for those wistfully looking toward heaven, more than 1,300 requests for Bible studies were collected. Results like these are almost unheard of in North America.

Since its infancy, when a handful of college students knelt down in a living room and asked for God to guide them as they started a youth movement, GYC has been committed to the church. From the president to the first-time attendee, it’s our sincere desire to serve our Savior and stand shoulder to shoulder with our church. Until Jesus comes again, GYC will continue to aid in the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Our church has a mission to take the gospel to the world—an enormous task in which no soul will go unwarned. It seems impossible, doesn’t it? The immensity of the mission leaves the average person feeling small and irrelevant. Church leaders plan and strategize to reach the remote tribes in Papua New Guinea, isolated villages in Antarctica, and countries with no Adventist presence. It’s a humbling task for church leadership. But the reality is that most of us aren’t able—or called—to participate in reaching those remote corners of the planet.

Could it be, however, that God has given us—given you—an equally great mission? Could it be that your neighborhood, your classroom, or your workplace is a mission field? The sobering reality is that the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church isn’t complete until your neighborhood, your classroom, your workplace has been reached! As we approach a new year, will you commit to letting God use you to light up your mission field?

The irony of the David and Goliath story is striking: David stared into the eyes of the giant and quickly decided: This uncircumcised Philistine? He doesn’t stand a chance! David stood confidently because he came in the name of the Lord, knowing he would be victorious. Perhaps your neighborhood, your workplace, your classroom has been viewed through the eyes of the Israelite army. Why even go? You know what the outcome will be—or do you? The same Creator who conquered Goliath is waiting—waiting to go with you into your mission field.

With you and your Creator, there will be no failure. 

Justin McNeilus, 25, is the president of Generation Youth For Christ. This article was printed on Decembe 24, 2009.