The world will end in 2012.
If whoever predicted that is wrong and we manage to live through it, then the rest of this stuff will definitely happen...
Paper books will go the way of the vinyl record, and Amazon is going to take over the communication world. Laptops will go away and be replaced by tablets. Cars will be replaced by jetpacks. The polar ice caps will go away and the world will flood again. Youth Ministry or at least the need for anyone to do this as a career choice will die. Marriage will be a thing of the past. America will implode under it's own immoral choices and/or the ginormous debt we have and then China will basically take it over in some kind of economic meltdown. Either way, my kids will all grow up to hate me.
I didn't make any of those up on my own. I've recently read them all in a news article, a blog, or in a conversation I've had. Ok, I made up the jetpack one. But the rest have a source outside of me.
Some of those stats I believe. Some scare me. Some make me wonder why I bother at all and make me want to quit writing, teaching, learning, and leading into what is inevitably a doomsday of my current reality. But regardless of which ones are true and which ones are false, they have reminded me of a couple things recently:
LOTS OF STUFF WILL CHANGE AND SO MUST I.
The cultural and technological changes I've experienced in the last 30 years are beyond comprehension. The things I do on cell phones, the way I use my computer, even how I pay my bills is not the same as it was even 5 years ago. Stuff comes and go at lighting speed it seems. I have no idea what the future holds, but history has proven that it's probably not what it is today and not what the future crystal ball people say either. I remember the day when Apple computers was surely going to fold. Now the NY Times says the company has $100 Billion in cash and securities. So go figure. I don't know what the future holds, but it's a safe bet that how people communicate, travel, spend money, dress, and a myriad of other basics will constantly be changing. So don't get too comfortable in your shoes. They won't last a lifetime, that's for sure.
SOME STUFF WILL NEVER CHANGE, AND I CAN'T LET DOOMSDAY PREDICTIONS MOVE ME.
On the other hand, there's plenty that the past several thousand years of social change has never managed to alter. Like the basic needs of food, water, and shelter, the Apostle Paul reminds us that people will always need Faith, Hope, and Love. As I've been thinking about it, I think there's some stuff about ministry I don't think are changing anytime soon either:
- MENTORS NEEDED: Much like the corporate world will always have interns and apprentices, kids will always need adult mentors. We're never going to see the day where adults are obsolete and children run the place. If you're a parent or an adult investing in the next generation, fear not... you'll be needed for as long as the globe is spinning.
- LAUGHTER, COMMUNITY, FORGIVENESS, RESTORATION, AND TRUE FRIENDSHIP: No one will be removing the need for people to do life with each other or the reality that this process is messy. The pressure for one aspect or another ebbs and flows, but the essential core of it is never going to die. Embrace every chance you get to do be the people of God.
- LEADERSHIP AND LEARNING: The church and the world will always need leaders. The smart ones will be learners of the past and seek the wisdom for the future. Don't quit leading.
- PROGRAMS TO SERVE A NEED: I know it's cool to diss on programs and to pump relationships, but whether it's a way to feed the masses, get clothing to the needy, help people travel, share a learning experience, worship God, or merely organize a group to go to the snow, people will always need help getting it done. If you are a leader who helps people collaborate, have no fear... you'll always be doing that and people will always be looking for help. If you shut the doors on your program, I promise you, it will not close the need for another to open up and meet it. Don't do your program because you've always done it. But don't quit thinking of new ways to meet new needs, the world will never be so self-sufficient as to make them obsolete.