Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Some thoughts on Next Gen (KYLC) last week

I spent last week in Katoomba, at the Next Gen conference (formerly KYLC), helping to lead a small group as we studied systematic theology. Two things I learned:
  1. I am now officially old. During the conference I started reminiscing, with a couple of other old fogies, about the bad old days, when the conference was still called KYLC, and we used to meet in Katoomba High School, and the convention centre had a dirt floor, not nice bitumen like today. I found myself saying things like "you young people don't know how good you've got it. When I was your age…"
  2. The quality of delegates is improving. I studied Strand Three, Systematic Theology, in 1997 (I think—or was it '96? See, told you I'm getting old…). At the time, I definitely knew less than the delegates in my group last week. As part of the study in the small group, they had to come up with a plan for a series on a topic of their own choice. The topics they selected were impressive: the role of music in worship; is every Christian an evangelist?; women in ministry; what does it mean for the Bible to be simultaneously a human and divine document?; and so on. And their proposed series were even more impressive—they were coming up with stuff that I could only think of after a four-year, formal degree in theology.
The church perseveres, and the gospel continues, fundamentally through God's mercy, not through human effort. That said, we are supposed to find reliable people, to whom we can entrust the gospel (2 Tim 2:2). If my group was representative of the quality of young church leaders, the next generation is—as far as we can humanly tell—in good hands.

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