As the Youth and Young Adult Coordinator for The Voice of the Martyrs, I have spent a good amount of time researching the trends and values among young adults. As a Millennial (people born from 1980 to 2000) myself, it is easy for me to see how I fit smack dab into the stereotypes and statistics about this generation. Thanks to technology, the Millennial generation is more aware of need than any before it; we get a Twitter update on our smartphones the moment something happens. This is part of the reason why social justice issues have exploded with Millennial involvement.
Where does Christian persecution fit into the values of Millennials? There are many different reasons why I’m passionate about this but I’ll give you five of the main reasons why we care:
We are inspired by the stories of persecuted Christians who take a courageous stand for the sake of the gospel. Most Millennials don’t believe they have to wait until they receive a certain degree or reach a certain age to do something significant. We see the stories of other young people who, against all odds, stood strong in the face of challenges, and we endeavor to do the same.
2. We are unwilling to accept the status quo.
Millennials don’t accept doing things just because that’s always how they’ve been done. The answer “because I told you so” doesn’t work for this age group. We are motivated by our beliefs and our passions, not by rules or systems. Our brothers and sisters who are persecuted challenge the status quo every day when they break the law by reading their Bibles or have an illegal underground church gathering. They are motivated by their belief and passion to live for Jesus.
3. We are looking for something deeper.
Many Millennials feel starved for the living, active, risk-taking faith we read about in scripture. We want more than the American dream; we aren’t satisfied with traditional church or traditional Christianity. We are not alarmed by the danger, the stories of blood and persecution; we are tired of apathy and know that just being ‘good people’ isn’t enough. We want to live lives radically sold out to the cause of Christ. Millennials want to take risks for something that impacts eternity, such as the risk to share the gospel with a Muslim or Hindu extremist.
4. We value authentic community.
Community is one of the highest values of Millennials; this is why coffee shops are so popular and why we are so influenced by our peers. Connecting with our persecuted family provides Millennials with more than meeting a need; it provides us with community, with fellowship with our brothers and sisters living in some of the most difficult places in the world.
5. We want to make a difference and believe we can change the world.
People accuse Millennials of being too optimistic. But we serve a God who can do big things and who can use anyone that is willing to submit themselves to Him. Who would guess that Iran has the fastest growing church in the world, in a country where it’s illegal to convert to Christianity? Millennials don’t view their cultural challenges as a threat from the world, but as an opportunity to reach the world for Christ.
YOUR TURN: Are you a Millennial too? What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in a comment on this post, as well as your ideas about how VOM can best communicate the testimonies of persecuted believers to people in your age group.
Brooke Parks serves on the staff of VOM as youth & young adult coordinator. She was first introduced to the ministry of VOM by her parents and grandparents, who received the VOM newsletter, and through the VOM book Jesus Freaks. She has served in 12 different countries and is passionate about helping expand God’s Kingdom throughout the nations of the world.