“I came that you might have life, and have it to the full.” - Jesus
In 2021 the U.S Surgeon General issued an advisory on “Youth Mental Health,” in 2023 yet another advisory was issued by the Surgeon General, this time on our cultures “Epidemic of Loneliness.” The intersection of these two advisories paint a bleak portrait of life among the next generation. Consider the following two excerpts.
“The challenges today’s generation of young people face are unprecedented and uniquely hard to navigate. And the effect these challenges have had on their mental health is devastating.”
“Loneliness and social isolation in childhood increase the risk of depression and anxiety both immediately and well into the future...While the epidemic of loneliness and isolation is widespread (1 in 5 adults & 1 in 3 young people) and has profound consequences for our individual and collective health and well-being, there is a medicine hiding in plain sight: social connection.”
Each generation must rediscover, amidst the particular challenges of their time, God’s good purpose for life. We now know that in our time, the goodness of life seems allusive to so many among the next generation; and this despite historic access to material abundance, therapeutic support, and technological wonders. Jesus warned us of the possibility that one might “gain the world” yet lose their “own soul.” Material abundance, therapeutic support, and technological wonder in our culture have merely masked what they could never fulfill; namely the souls need for purpose & belonging.
It has been said that “when the church finds a chasm, she builds a bridge.” So, what is the bridge God wants to build for this generation?
Holocausts survivor and founder of Logo Therapy, Viktor Frankl, reflecting on what built resilience among prisoners amidst the despair of the concentration camps said the following.
“We had to learn ourselves, and furthermore we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking ourselves about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life.”
Jesus promised his followers not merely life in the biological sense (Greek = bios), nor even life in a mere phycological sense (Greek= Psyche) but life that was abundant, purposeful, and eternal (Greek = Zoe). SLAQ believes that the bridge from childhood to Christian maturity involves a meaningful encounter with the Zoe life of God, as well as a response to the invitation of Life as Adventure.
The next generation fully alive for the glory of God and the good of our communities
To raise up, among the next generation, diverse cohorts of serving leaders in the way of Jesus through real-Life experiences of: outdoor adventure, community service, and Crucial Conversations.
Faith, Integrity, Resiliency, Empathy
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