Q&A: Stories of Impact

Q&A: Stories of Impact



Regional Co-Facilitator for Transform World Southeast Asia



National Coordinator of Alpha Malaysia



Founder of Thankyou Water



Pastor at Hope Restoration Ministry



Visual artist



Township Reformation



Author, branded content strategy for Christianity Today



Speaker & apologist for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)

Leaders Who Represent or Work with Emerging Generations Share Ideas About Calling, Purpose and Connection

Q: What does it mean to you to feel a sense of “calling?” 01

JULIETTE: I believe that calling is an extremely strong conviction motivated by God, which propels a person to move with passion, priority and purpose. Calling is intertwined with one’s life purpose and can be expressed differently through a variety of careers at different stages of one’s life. For example, if one feels their calling is to help alleviate poverty, this could be expressed by being an educator at first, then going on to work for an NGO, then to business or even politics.

DANIEL: Deep down, we all have a sense of calling. The scriptures definitely confirm it. I just wonder if that gets robbed sometimes by the sense of comparison that so plagues humanity. We compare to the journey of others, maybe even envy the “fingerprint” of someone else, without realizing we have a unique call.

STEPHEN: To me, “calling” is where my passion and purpose intersect. It’s that thing I can’t help but do or create, even if it’s challenging or painful. It’s when my desires and skills line up with what the world so desperately needs. It’s what lights me up, but it’s also what burdens me. Pay attention to what gets you “in the zone,” that thing that fires you up so much that you can’t fall asleep. If you get paid for it, realize what a rare privilege it is! Your job and calling don’t have to be the same thing, so having the “perfect dream job” should never be an expectation or an entitlement.

Q: What advice would you give to young adults who are anxious about career decisions? 02

ABEL: Keep learning and investing in relationships at all levels. A posture of learning enables you to develop two highly important and transferable skills you’ll need to thrive in your work: self-awareness and adaptability. Learn to ask questions and develop intellectual and relational curiosity with everyone at all levels, believing that you can learn anything from anyone.

DANIEL: The future is unknown, there are so many possible paths, and everyone expects you to have it figured out. I grew up with my mom and dad quoting the scripture, “Be anxious about nothing.” They quoted it as an encouragement for me to pray about my future. So that’s what I did. I didn’t have the answer pop up straight away, but there is something remarkable about not internalizing that anxious wrestling about future decisions and to look up (pray) and seek the wisdom of people you trust in your life.

JOY: One of my college professors always said, “Get your foot in the door, and then figure out how to open it.” I have followed this advice throughout my career, and it’s benefited me in countless ways by providing opportunities I never would have had otherwise. Company culture matters, working with people you like matters, and getting a start in a new field (no matter what role you’re playing) matters. So, don’t hold out for the dream job—just get your foot in the door. Our career paths will likely look so much different than we imagine.

PERCY: Many young people choose their careers based on the urgency to meet their basic needs. In my experience, careers chosen with this in mind can cause a lot of frustration and lack of fulfillment. It is when one is within their God-given purpose, gift or calling that they can enjoy the fulfilment and satisfaction of their career. The impact to those receiving your time and service is even greater.

TRACY: We need to be agile and open-minded within the corridor of values and principles. Sometimes we need quality people to affirm our talents. Sometimes by helping others wholeheartedly we can unearth the hidden capacity within us. Most importantly, pray to God for divine guidance on what we should do next and where we should be. While waiting in prayer, do something. I love the Bible verse, “Do not despise these small beginnings” (Zechariah 4:10).

Q: What are some benefits and what are some drawbacks of the feeling of connectedness the internet provides? 03

JOY: The internet has offered me solace and hope when I thought I was alone. It has given me access to teachers who have patiently guided me through lessons on racial reconciliation and healthy sexuality. It has provided cheerleaders for my successes and wise counsel for my questions. But the internet has also decreased my desire to plant roots in a new town because I already receive support and engagement online. It has preoccupied me by staving off my need for emotional intimacy and convincing me I’m known, but it never truly satisfies. It has reduced the importance of introspection and mystery as I derive value from the amount I can disclose and the number of engagements I can receive in return. Ultimately, the internet is both wonderful and terrible. Balance in all things is necessary. While the internet offers many great gifts, it can and should never be a replacement for the embodied life we’re called to.

SIFISO: The internet has enabled people to access communities they self-identify with at an exponential scale, and it enables fast dissemination of information in a decentralized manner. This is both a good thing and a bad thing in that it has enabled those same individuals and communities to become polarized, leading to fragmentation and forced assimilation: “You’re either with us or you’re against us.” The internet has been elevated as the primary source of “truth,” which has led to mass deception and mass social engineering to conform to particular interest groups’ set of norms.


Q: How do you think the internet and social media has impacted the work of social justice? 04

DANIEL: Before social media, many dark areas of society were known about, but not seen. Now we have light shining on local and global issues like never before. We have calls to action. This is awesome, and also overwhelming. “Charity fatigue,” or the feeling that there are so many dark problems in the world, can make people feel paralyzed to step out and create change.

JULIETTE: The reach, connectivity, power and speed of the media have been great assets in creating awareness, mobilizing a variety of helps, harnessing the wider community’s resources, researching matters and bringing about a positive outcome or solution for a cause. On the other hand, social media has been used by individuals and groups to abuse the vulnerability of the disadvantaged and generate income for themselves, with little or none of the monies collected being used for the stated purpose of helping the poor or marginalized. Social media, a boon to lifestyles in so many ways, needs to be stewarded wisely and with integrity to maximize its potential for the good of humankind.

ABEL: It has been commonly said that the internet can produce “armchair warriors,” people who take a backseat in terms of social justice and are only making online noise. I only agree with this sentiment partially, because while it is true that the anonymity of the internet can create more passive commenters, this is not necessarily unique to Millennials. I believe there is a net benefit to the internet and the growth of social justice movements, and this can be seen in the way societies connected to the internet are becoming more informed, more equal and more connected.

Q: Do you find 18–35-year-olds’ openness to spirituality surprising? 05

STEPHEN: I don’t find this surprising at all. My fellow pilgrims and I have been on a journey for the last few years, returning to a more ancient, sacramental expression of faith that is rooted in history and in sync with the global Church. We are weary of churches defined by marketing gimmicks, branding and high production value; we desire a slower sacred space where we can commune, read scripture, be illuminated by beauty and lament injustice (in political but not partisan ways). It’s slow, and it’s not entertaining. But it breathes life back into our cynical souls. As my priest says, “Stillness will become our salvation.”

ABEL: The Millennial generation is the generation that is most connected and exposed to new and different ideas and cultures. Because choice is important to Millennials, new ideas and bodies of knowledge are more readily accepted. A non-Christian Millennial might be more open to exploring Christianity; however, they might struggle with the notion of choosing Christ alone as the only way to truth. Millennials are generally skeptical of monopolies of thought and ideas, potentially seeing this as a form of inequity.

Q: What do you think young adults are craving from local churches? 06

TRACY: I asked a youth worker at a church in the UK what she sees as the three most common problems found among the Christian students at Oxford University. Her answer: “First, depression. Second, loneliness. And third, a yearning about their calling in life.” Millennials want to know how biblical texts apply to these problems, which are echoed throughout the world, along with questions of identity, sexuality, wealth and possessions, suffering, meaning in life, the purpose of our existence.

PERCY: I feel the Church should have more of a voice on things that are trending in current culture. More often than not, we tend to be more reactive than proactive toward what’s going on in culture. We should have more debates and talks inside and outside the Sunday experience to address such topics, especially those that are not necessarily black and white in the Bible.

JULIETTE: Church leaders could better address young adults’ needs, concerns and questions by intentionally seeking them out to form genuine, caring relationships where deep conversations and dialogue can occur. This would be like a nursery or seedbed for growing understanding between the two groups and minimizing the communication / generation gap.

SIFISO: Young people across all generations have been and are still looking for answers to life’s hardest questions. Church leaders must be unashamed and unapologetic about teaching and holding to the authority of God’s Word as a single source of truth. God’s Word is sufficient for addressing all aspects of life even in our postmodern and increasingly polarized digital age. Churches need to leverage the benefits of technology to enable Millennials to find answers to their questions across all subjects and channels.

JOY: If churches claim to value the presence and contributions of young people but they have no Millennials in leadership positions, no Millennials under mentorship and no Millennials being asked to join decision-making committees, then that church is not truly committed to young people. You can always tell what a church (or person) supports based on its budget and calendar. Until those calendars and budgets more closely reflect average Millennials—who are more likely to be racially diverse and overwhelmed with debt and less likely to be married or own their own home—then the church will continue to lose these vital members.

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