New York is a city that breeds perfection. In one place, you have some of the most gifted actors, diplomats, world leaders, journalists, writers, doctors, artists, musicians, dancers, financial minds, administrative genius, and pretty much every other occupation as well. The culture, to me personally, goes beyond pursuing excellence, but rather to perfectionism. There are lots of great actors in the city who have not landed a role, just because of their appearance doesn’t exactly match what the role is calling for, and there are 1,000 other actors in the city, vying for the same part. You could be a very diligent worker at your entry level job, but if you are not willing to stay later than everyone else, working 12 hour days, you won’t get the promotion, because someone else is willing to. It is this type of environment that both we find ourselves trying to compete in, and which are millennials find themselves trying to perform in.
While Jesus calls his disciples to greatness, He radically redefines what greatness is “the first shall be last and the last shall be first. While God entrusted to work of preaching the gospel to the world to the apostles, He also used Paul to proclaim, “My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in your weakness”. While the cultural narrative in New York tells you to just keep working harder, one of the things we believe God is calling us to is to preach the gospel in raw vulnerability. That means to be honest about our own weakness, and yet how the gospel gives us great strength through the power of God. It means to create a safe space for millennials to be honest about the sin battles in our lives, so that they can hear the voice of Jesus to come out of darkness and into the light. One of the millennials we work with told us “you guys must be really into confession!”. It sounded strange at first, but, yes, we believe that’s how a believer has ongoing communion with the living God. That same millennial has seen his life changed as he been has able to grow in confessing his sin.
Sam and Jonny have been meeting since he moved to the city in the Fall. He often comes to their meetings together discouraged and little beaten up by the city. Jonny is in the process of having his real estate license transferred from Texas to New York, and he is currently working at a grocery store to pay the bills. He is just not where he hoped he be in life. One morning over breakfast Jonny said that the raw vulnerability Sam brings to the table is very refreshing to him. He feels like it is his time to let his guard down, and just experience the richness of the gospel. Pray that we model this raw vulnerability to others, welcoming them into this sanctifying process.