Some years ago, the GMP Board decided to be more intentional in the way we engaged with younger people. This was a shift in strategy and is still a point of focus.
The results of this change in direction are noticeable. embody was established as an experiment and it is now core to GMP. Out of embody came Safe Water September which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for clean water projects (and is coming next month). We have younger Board members – even though sometimes being on the Board is not the most exciting thing to be involved in! We have a mix in our staff of older and younger and, yes, I am one of the oldest!
When some heard about our strategy shift, a comment was made that it’s like older people no longer matter. This is not the case. We did not – and do not – want to set up a younger vs older dynamic! We do celebrate what happens when we are all drawn into the same commitment to be part of a ministry of compassion, advocacy and Christian mission such as GMP. We all have a place in God’s mission enterprise.
In Acts, the prophet Joel is quoted: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people; your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young will see visions, your old will dream dreams...” (Acts 2:17 adapted). Luke is clear – all ages, and women and men are called to be a people of the future, a people of hope and expectation.
Together we are a future people who, with God’s Spirit, are part of an evolving future. What we all bring is vitally important. This year marks 130 years since the sending of the first Churches of Christ missionary to India. Her name was Mary Thompson and she was young – 30 years of age – when she sailed in 1891. She was a young pioneer!
There are ways whereby we can affirm and value each other. Perhaps taking time to carefully listen to each other can help. Asking the other about their experiences in mission, and valuing the legacy of the past. Celebrating that we learn by attempting to do something new, while recognising that it may not work. Taking a risk and asking for help!
It is clear that we are all members of the one body – where the only hierarchical element is the place Jesus Christ has in the body – the head.