From a Younger Leader to my Elders: Thanks, but . . .

Let me begin by saying that I feel so blessed and privileged to be a part of the Lausanne Younger Leaders here at Cape Town 2010.  I applaud my elders who have made it a point to intentionally ensure that a significant portion of this Congress consists of the participation and contributions of Christian leaders under the age of 40.  Let me start there.  Thanks, truly humbled, truly grateful -- this is changing my life.


Last night we were treated to a Younger Leaders Reception following the third plenary.  I was inspired and blessed to see so many delegates of my age group and to hear Michael Oh and Doug Birdsall's words of encouragement and affirmation.


Doug said this, "My generation looks at things as they are and says, 'Why?' But your [meaning younger leaders] generation looks at things as they could be and says, 'Why not?'" [Pause for applause, some of which are mine].


That's not the full picture. I mean I get what Doug was saying and I agree to an extent and felt excited and clapped my hands and have been doing that very thing much of this week.  Still, I think it is important that we are also the generation that so often looks at everything and simply says, "Whatever."  We are a generation that is also often marked by arrogance, complacency, triviality, unhealthy cynicism, and an often too critical spirit.  Some of us have noted this in our conversations this week.  We are a generation that needs our elders to not only applaud us, but rebuke us, speak into our lives, shepherd us and sometimes even kick us in the teeth.

I have a friend that I love who isn't here.  He had a spot.  He deserved it.  He's someone you'd probably know.  But he gave it up for someone else.  Someone younger.  Who hadn't, like him, had the chance to be at Lausanne stuff - something he's been privileged to be on the inside of often.  His decision was noble and probably from God, but when he was sharing with me about his thought process I told him my perspective.  "What about the young leader that ends up at your small group table, who is thus privileged to interact personally with one of the great mission thinkers in the world today, who never forgets it and is forever changed by it?"

What I was really saying was, "What about me?" I'm really grateful for my elders here at Cape Town 2010 who have made us younger leaders feel that we really belong at the table.  Truly, deeply grateful.  But please don't forget that we still desperately need you.  We don't like to admit it.  We will often resist and resent your rebukes, but please, please rebuke us anyway.  Correct us anyway.  Shepherd us.  Lead us.  Listen to us, sure.  We have some things to say, but we desperately need your wisdom, experience, and maturity.

Proverbs 20:29 preserves the intergenerational tension nicely, "The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair."

So I have an especially deep appreciation for someone like my new friend, Knud.  An older leader who doesn't need to be bothering with me.  But last night, he just saw me and sat with me and ate dinner.  Here's a man who's seen the world, been a leader in missions for years, is now experiencing his 3rd Lausanne Congress.  He sat with me, talked, encouraged, subtly challenged.  It is what I need.  It is what my generation needs.  I also appreciate deeply Alvaro, whom I've already mentioned, Pastor Tek, and others that have taken the time to wisely speak with me and into my life.  Please don't forget that we need that.

We tend to kick at the goads.  But mothers and fathers, please goad us anyway!

We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
(Psa 78:4)

Something Else: The Dialog Session I Keep Looking for . . .

It has been noted that the emphasis on World Faiths at this Congress has been largely focused on Islam.  This is probably true and I trust the leadership and their careful discernment process on this.  However, it still is a fact that everyday I keep looking at the same sheet of dialog sessions that I've been carrying around all week thinking, "Maybe something on Hinduism and contextualization is there."  But alas, the list doesn't magically get amended at night by magical Lausanne fairies.

So, I still have this longing to have a forum to exchange ideas between the few of us here (in part it would just be nice to know who we are) who are interested in pursuing contextualization among Hindus for the cause of Christ.  And it's the dialog session I would lead if I were slightly more famous.  Still, if you are out there and reading this (there's the big filter, if you're reading this) and interested in this topic, please post a comment or drop me an email so we can begin to identify each other.  It might be helpful to have some kind of network in place.  And, by the way, I do have several copies of a resource that I want to provide to people who are really ready to pursue this in their contexts.

I leave you today with a shoddy video taken from my phone of one of the best worship teams I've ever been around.  Blessings!


  1. Daniel Fuentes1:44 AM

    Dude... I couldn't agree more bro. I just went through a crazy political mess right before this summer at a church that left me jobless and bleeding. I think much of it could have been avoided if leadership in the church would have been clear with their rebukes, and not just made suggestions. I walked into my office and found out that my weekend would be with deacons about my job status. Men that really didn't know me, and I had mostly never seen.

    I would have died for their correction. I would change when they said change. Instead they danced around the bush and then had me resign because "they were going a different direction" which is ministry language for "we hate you, we would rather have nothing than you".

    I am glad that God has put me where I am today. It actually was the best thing for me to learn. It was the need for church leaders to actually lead. Part of leading is rebuking and discipling. I am glad now that I am healing and growing in a church where my pastor knows where I'm at and is not afraid to kick me in gear. I actually need and crave it. Any wise person doesn't fear correction, but fears not having any opposition.

    I guess it comes to three things.
    1. Tell me clearly what the objective is.
    2. Give me all of the resources to meet the objective.
    3. Give me accountability when I'm not doing what I need to in the first two.

  2. Hi Cody,

    Thank you so much for this post, and for your wonderful contribution to the Lausanne Movement!

    It has been such a joy to follow your thoughts and reflections on your blog! I look forward to meeting you and the rest of the blogger network a little later today.

    God bless,


  3. Daniel, thanks for sharing from you heart. I'm glad this post resonated with you. Love you, bro!

  4. Dion, thanks for your encouragement. Hey, it's been great being a part of the network. Glad I had the opportunity to meet you today.

  5. Wow...I could greatly echo this as a REALLY young "leader", but mostly as a young person looking for someone to teach me. The personal interactions and loving rebukes are what we always remember and truly learn from. So often a podcast or a book or a sermon simply won't do. My age group has too much of that- we CRAVE personal, intense, challenging interaction with people older and wiser than us. Sure, we may grimace and rebel at correction at first, but soon we'll learn how to use it for growth. But someone's got to teach us...

  6. Cody,

    As one of those older leaders, thanks for sharing your love, your excitement . . . and your challenges for us. I've always deeply appreciated your perspectives and look forward to having some chai with you once you get back. . . God had an interesting set of events that are part of my story while you were there, confirming an earlier decision we discussed!

    By the way, I know the Knud you met is the one I know--a wonderful man of God.

  7. Hey, Scott. Thanks for reading and commenting. Let's try to get together soon. Blessings!