EXPERIENCE GOD’S STORY IN HIGH DEFINITION
Our favorite movies invade our living rooms with beautiful, vivid colors. We hear the spectacular clarity that surround sound has to offer. We are invited into a full experience that captivates us from beginning to end of a good story. High Definition is the new norm. However, it seems that God’s Story has remained in Standard Definition for many of us – especially for Millennials. God’s Story has lost its sparkle and appeal. Are they right? Perhaps.
High definition (HD) technology boasts many things, but predominantly it promises the following:
- Vivid Picture
- Clear Sound
- Full Experience
I think these HD characteristics correlate to three reasons why Millennials have a tough time believing that God’s Story is good news:
- The picture of God’s Story is incomplete, blurry, or distorted – not vivid.
- The sound of God’s Story is communicated with lots of static – not clear.
- The experience of God’s Story is empty, shallow, or distant – not full.
If you receive God’s amazing story with a vivid picture, clear sound, and a full experience, you will be different. This good news will transform you. I want this kind of good news for campuses all over the United States and the world. I don’t want a lame, confusing, and cookie-cutter experience. I want it in HD!! Let me unpack these 3 HD characteristics:
#1 Vivid Picture
It is important to share the entire vivid story. Don’t jump to the end of the story. There is a grand narrative that God is trying to show you, so do not skip over parts. I love this video — it does a great job sharing the depth and breadth of the story of God and our world. My colleagues have broken down God’s Story into 4 unique chapters as follows:
Chapter 1 – Designed for Good
The world was beautiful in every way. Everything synced and worked together. Humanity had an open relationship with the world, one another, and God. The world was perfect. You were perfect. God made it that way. Unfortunately, it did not remain beautiful.
Chapter 2 – Damaged by Evil
Evil broke your relationship with the world, one another, and God. Evil damaged you in a profound way. Not only were you and I the victims of evil, but you and I became the perpetrators as well. We hurt one another, killed one another, used one another, and exploited the world around us. Destruction was rampant.
Chapter 3 – Restored for Better
Jesus identified with humanity and its brokenness without contributing to the damage. Jesus owned the problem and made it his task to resolve it. So Jesus died to reverse this damage. He paid for it – he was punished for it. Jesus overcame darkness and evil. When Jesus came back to life, power was unleashed to restore your relationship with the world, one another, and God. You and I have hope.
Chapter 4 – Sent out to Heal
Now, you get the opportunity to join Jesus in the healing process around the world and throughout society. In order to do this, you identify that only Jesus has the power to heal the damage. You own up to the damage you have contributed. Then you will overcome evil under his leadership! You will reconcile, restore, and refresh the world through Jesus! He is the key. You can be a world changer through him! Amazing.
Millennials often hear, “You are a sinner. You are going to hell. Believe in Jesus. Pray this magical prayer with me. Sweet, you’re going to heaven. See you later…” It is incomplete. This lame story does not give the vivid brilliance of God’s story.
Millennials desire more — give them the most epic story of all time!
#2 Clear Sound
Millennials need to hear God’s Story in a way they will understand. Culture plays a critical role in understanding God’s Story. Culture can create static or amplification depending on how you use it. Often culture is blamed rather than utilized. Instead of demeaning the music, movies, clothes, and ideas of Millennials, find ways of intersecting culture with God’s Story. These cultural cues provide hints to God’s Story. It is everywhere.
Consider how many epic movies have the EXACT story-line as God’s Story. “Everything was going well, then everything got really bad, one person started a revolution, and they overcame the evil together…” Lord of the Rings. Matrix. Braveheart. Avatar. Batman. Superman. Chronicles of Narnia. The list goes on and on. Do you hear it? It is God’s Story! It echoes everywhere.
Songs on the radio have lyrics that speak about parts of God’s Story. P-Diddy will sing about “Coming Home”. Lady Gaga sings about being “Born This Way”. Macklemore calls you to experience life such that you “Can’t Hold Us”. Coldplay. U2. Pitbull. Christina Aguilera. Kelly Clarkson. Justin Timberlake. These modern-day poets and prophets speak truth about reality. True, God’s story is distorted, but its echoes are found within their songs. Eternity is written on the hearts of musicians, scriptwriters, poets, etc.
Speak the language of Millennials — be relevant AND truthful.
#3 Full Experience
Millennials express and experience faith differently than everyone else. Faith is done in community not as individuals. Previous generations wanted to understand what a group believed before belonging to it, but Millennials are not wired this way. Millennials belong before they believe. Millennials desire a faith that they can experience with others.
Millennials don’t want to be convinced by a traveling salesman, but they want a travel guide. Experts are not necessary, but a companion on the journey is a must! Go along for the ride, don’t just explain the ride. Millennials don’t want to experience faith through mental gymnastics, but they long to give their lives away to something great. They want to make a difference.
I agree. If God’s Story does not transform me and give me purpose, then it feels empty. I want my life to be different, to have meaning, to have destiny. Millennials want a leader, a movement, and a mission that will change the world. Jesus is the ultimate revolutionary. He is worth following.
Offer Millennials a life trajectory that will change them and the world to the fullest.
Share God’s Story in all of its vivid brilliance. Communicate it by utilizing culture in truthful ways. Experience this journey fully in community. Share the good news with someone at work, on campus, at church, or in your neighborhood. Start today!
Additional References: James Choung