Post #GCSA15: 5 things Adventist Millenials can do after the General Conference

GCSA2015

It. Is. Finished.

Now what?

These are 5 things that you and I can do in light of, and in response to, what has happened.

1) Speak up.

Even Twitter didn’t see it coming – the interactive contribution of SDA millennials across the globe displaying the most effective use of a hashtag I’ve seen till date.

If Twitterverse has told me anything during the past week, it’s this:
Millenials have a voice. And we want to be heard.

So speak up. Raise your voice. Do whatever it takes to shake up the status quo, either in your local congregation or community. Do so in a manner that shows the clearest picture of Jesus.

And lest we forget: Few millennials with a relevant message spoke up once with a passion fueled by the fire in their bones.

Now they are 18 million strong. And growing.

2) Get connected to your local church.

Our current demographics within the Adventist church reveal that we are not the church of tomorrow, but the church of today.  In light of that fact, the gross under-representation of young adult delegation at the GC could evoke in us one of two responses:

1- Express angst and continue to find reasons as to why we should have been better represented, or

2-Ensure our representation in #GCI2020 by getting plugged in now.

This is what Elder Gilbert Cangy, the youth director for the General Conference, had to say when interviewed about the process of becoming a delegate at the General Conference session:

“The General Conference, as an entity, does not choose delegates. The delegates are chosen as close as possible to the local churches. It only makes sense to trust the leaders closest to the local churches to know the individuals who can contribute in a significant way to the (future and direction) of the church (at large). Each division of the world church ensures the credibility of its delegates by “screening” them through the responses of union presidents and local church pastors.”

He later went on to say that when a young adult is faithful to the principles of our faith and is an affirming, empowering voice at the local church level, chances are that he or she will be noticed by other local leaders as someone who has the best interest of the church at heart. After that, it’s only a matter of time till their name is referred for nomination.

All this tells me that the surest path to becoming a delegate at the GC session always starts at the doors of your local church.

Get involved at your church. Lead a ministry. Be proactive.

3) Be informed

The GC session can be a cure for “denominational myopia.”

 Let me unpack that.

As millennials, we have a high-functioning radar which detects anything from an ugly logo to an inefficient system. Scrutiny and critique can oftentimes be effortless.

So let me be the first to admit that it’s easy for me to get distracted by something that happens to me at church and indiscriminately color my perception of the church at large with a large, hairy, brush – all the while not realizing that I’ve haphazardly colored over some other things as well.

Myopia is simply being hyper-focused on what lies nearest to you that you fail to include the larger context. And I was myopic about my denomination.

Experiencing the GC, albeit for two days, significantly lessened this myopia by exposing me to the larger context of the world church.

Listening to the division reports, interacting with those from other cultures and nations, and seeing God’s activity among them showed me that the ‘church’ is more than just what happens to me in my local church.

The GC reminded me that the ‘church’ is bigger than its issues.  The more I was informed, the less myopic I became. The more I got to know the larger context, the less I reacted to the smaller ones.

What we do is greatly impacted by what we are up against. Therefore the more we are informed about what’s happening in our local congregation, community, and the global Adventist community, the better we are suited to be game changers for the Kingdom.

4) Find a Christ-centered mentor who has your best interest at heart.

Nuff said.

5) Dig deeper into Scripture.

As I was scrolling through my twitter feed on the day of the big vote, I couldn’t help but wonder:

What if millennials were half as engaged and committed to spending time in Scripture as they were on their Twitter feeds?

What would that look like? How would that look like in their personal lives and in the lives of their communities?

Iconic theologian and author A.W Tozer once made this provocative statement:

“Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified.”

Boom. *drops mic*

Friends, we are not just millennials but Seventh-Day Adventist millennials: a special group of people who have been entrusted with the end-time message of a living Savior to be shared with a dying world.
For us to be bold in the world, we need to first be humble before God in the prayer closet. The more we dig deeper into Scripture, the more leverage and arsenal we have along with the adults and leaders of our church.

Our cultural relevancy is largely dependent on our Scriptural fluency. When we are well-versed in Scripture, not only are we able to speak the language of other demographics within our denomination, but we become better influencers of those outside of it.

A lot of hurt and frustration has understandably ensued in light of Wednesday’s vote. I am right there with those who are disappointed. I’m sure those who are at the brink of leaving have legitimate reasons for doing so. If that’s you, my friend, I appeal to you sincerely – We need you and your pain. Some of the biggest turnarounds and movements in history occurred when a small group of people harnessed their collective dissatisfaction in effective and constructive ways. If you want to move forward, these 5 steps maybe a start. If not, hit me up. Let me listen.

These are just 5 things. What are YOU going to do after this session? Please leave a comment in the spaces below!

(pic courtesy of http://www.nadsecretariat.org)

20 Ways to Not Waste Your Snow Day.

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I am snowed in.

It’s nice 🙂

And I’m sure the same feeling is shared, for the most part, by my sleep-deprived, frost-bitten friends who attend Andrews University located in Narnia, Michigan.

If your school/workplace declares a snow day, and you have a whole day just for youself, here are some things you could do:

1) Call your parents.
‘cos let’s face it: You never will otherwise. And they are wondering how you’re doing.

2) Call your brother/sister.
Same reason. Minus them entirely caring about how you’re doing.

3) Cook something nice for yourself.
I like to take my sweet time cooking. It can relax you. IF you can cook, that is.

4) Read few chapters from a book that’s not required reading.

5) Watch few episodes of your favorite Tv show.
FEW. like… eight..

6) Catch up on homework.
Props to you if you actually do homework today.

7) Shovel your neighbors driveway.
and don’t tell em. 🙂

8) If you’re not single and both are snowed in, plan a date with your significant other.
🙂

9) If you are single, pray for a significant other. ( OR go hangout out with someone you wanted to hangout but u didn’t because you were too chicken to to do it. )

10) Go snowboarding.
or ‘borrow’ a tray from your local cafeteria and slide down your local tubing hill.

11) Learn something new.

12) Have a jam session with your musical buddies.

13) Jump in the snow.
Totes fun.

14) Go cross country skiing.
Never done it. Let me know how it is if you have.

15) Drive around your town ( if possible ) and see if  anyone needs a ride somewhere.

16) Visit a friend you haven’t chilled with in a while.
(no pun intended)

17) Make something for your neighbor. 
Don’t charge em. Just give.

18) Invest in some projects you’ve put on the shelf for a while. 

19) Spend some quality, unrushed time with your Maker.
Let this be more than the 10 minutes in the morning as you’re rushing out of your room. It’s worth it.

20) SLEEP. 
Nuff said.

What about you? Anything you would add on this list?? Leave a comment below!

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting College.

I graduated from college last week.

Still hasn’t hit me yet.

But as I go through memory lane, I can’t help but think about  missed opportunities, a few regrets, and some setbacks which stemmed because I lacked this one thing:

Information.

Looking back, these are a few things I wish someone told me before I started college.

1) College is not a bigger high school.

I don’t know about you but I thought that college was just a glorified high school.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

My perception of Andrews University was largely shaped by my high school experience. I always used to compare college as “harder”, “bigger” and “better” than high school. While all those are certainly true, I wish someone would have told me that university life and high school life are two entirely different things.

In high school, you had to go to classes. In college, you didn’t.

In high school, you had to keep your room habitable. In college, nobody cared as long as you don’t die of some fungal disease.

In high school, you are used to taking orders from teachers. In college, you have the wherewithal to start a revolution if you wanted to.

The freedom is palpable in college. You could do whatever you want. Which leads to the next thing I wish someone would have told me before starting college.

2) You are not an island.

I wish someone would have told me that while I had the freedom to do whatever I wished, I couldn’t do whatever I wished.

Let me rephrase that.

Just because I COULD do what I want to do, didn’t mean I SHOULD do what I want to do.

Why? Because even if I wanted to, I could not be an island all by myself; I am inevitably going to be a part of a community. And being a part of  a community means enjoying privileges but also having responsibilities.

Andrews felt like one humongous family. With just 3500 students, it’s very likely that you’d bump into the same person more than once in the same day!  Because of  such a small community, I felt more responsible for those I communed with. This sense of responsibility only deepened as I served as an officer in our student association. I wish someone would have told me that while I had the freedom and independence to do what I wanted to do at school, I should be mindful of the community I was going to be a part of.  Knowing this earlier would have alleviated some stress.

3) 
Be yourself.  

I was bullied in high school.

I wanted to fit in. Bad. So I tried to be someone I wasn’t to win the approval of others.

Unfortunately, I packed this ideology in my luggage and carried it with me to my dorm room.

I wish someone would have told me that I didn’t need to pretend in college. I didn’t need to be someone I was not.

I wish someone would have told me that it was perfectly fine to be me.

During my freshman and sophomore years, it was a harrowing experience trying to emulate what mr.popular, or mr.hipster was doing. But I began to take pride in my fresh-off-the-boat self when someone mentioned that I had a “cool” accent and a not-so-shabby fashion sense. That was the beginning of a journey that I’m still on. I realized that the more I valued myself, the more authentic I was. And the more authentic I allowed myself to be, the more effective I was as a leader.

Authenticity is currency. I wish someone would have told me that early on.

4) Get involved.

Nothing is detrimental to the joy of college life than passivity.

I wish someone would have told me that before I came to Andrews as a freshman.

Most of my cherished college memories are centered around the co-curricular activities that I had been a part of. I wouldn’t have had the joy of working with different teams, meeting new people, and pushing boundaries if I didn’t take an initiative to get involved and serve. However, one of my few regrets in college was that I didn’t get involved sooner.

I wonder how much richer my college experience would have been if I’d made Carpe Diem my daily goal the first day of class.  

Get involved. Early.

finally, I wish someone would have told me that…

5)   Education is not the most important thing about college.

You heard me.

Can I be honest with you?

I can distill EVERYTHING I’ve retained academically over the past 4 years into a 2 page paper ( Times New Roman, Double-spaced, Headings the size of Africa. 12pt font. periods sized 13).
I have forgotten most of what I have learnt in my classes. I have forgotten the contents of most of the papers I’ve written. I have forgotten most of the sermons I’ve listened to at church.

But what I am not able to forget, will take with me for the rest of my life, are the relationships I’ve made with the wonderful people I’ve met over the years.

The $46,000 I owe to the government is worth it for the close friendships I’ve made in college. Hands down.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m utterly grateful for the education I’ve received. It’s been nothing short of a miracle and a blessing from God. But I’m convinced that it’s not the most important thing in the college experience. If anything, the education I’ve received has made me a well-rounded individual to better relate to others in the global village.

I wish someone would have told me earlier that the “A” in Theology I was only worth it if it helped me engage empathetically with others who think and believe differently.

Education is important. Relationships are more important.

These are just 5 of the many things I’ve learnt from my college experience.  But enough about me. What about you?? What have you learnt from your college experience so far??