While at a Pastors-to-Missionary Conference a few years ago, the question was asked, “How many of you caregivers attending this event are under 50 years of age?” of the 80 of us in the room about six hands went up.
The missionary care force is aging, and younger caregivers are needed to fill the ranks as those of us in our 60’s and 70’s move out of providing direct care services. This is even more important as the younger generations move out to the mission fields and fill the pulpits of our countries. Will those of us in the retirement-age caregiving population really be able to understand and minister effectively to these younger workers?
In this post on his blog, David Lewis, lays out for us some of the challenges that this generation faces and some of the differences of their worldview from those of us in our 70’s:
Posted: 15 Apr 2014 02:11 AM PDT
- Divorce is common, even among Christians.
- Fragmented families are as prevalent as intact families.
- Fatherless families (or families with “rotating fathers’) are not unusual.
- Sexual preferences are a personal matter and should be respected.
- Sexual activity or lack thereof is simply that – not a moral issue.
- Marriage is an outdated social construct. Anyone should be allowed to live in legal partnership with anyone they desire, regardless of gender.
- Differences of any kind should not only be tolerated but respected.
- Religion is unnecessary for a good life. Church is irrelevant.
- Authorities can rarely be trusted, especially governmental authorities.
- Truth is largely a matter of perspective, and everyone has their own.
- Everyone is special and should be recognized as such.
- Sacrifices should only be small and temporary.
The list could go on, but you get the idea. Young people entering the missionary force today are steeped in these philosophies. Even if they don’t totally believe them, they have been affected by them. Every one of these issues poses a challenge for those who will provide care for them. They will have a high degree of expectation to be cared for, but they will have a low tolerance for being told how to live by an authority figure.
Challenging indeed. Where no oxen are, the stable is clean; but much increase comes from the strength of the ox (Solomon). It’s time to roll up our sleeves and go to work.”