You Can Rent Me, but I’m Not for Sale!

I am a full-time missionary and have been for seven years. I work for Steiger International, an organization dedicated to reaching young people outside the church, and helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus.

Working in music and the arts, I interact mostly with twenty-somethings. And although stepping into full-time ministry holds its challenges for everyone, I’ve noticed some unique barriers that the millennial generation is facing. I have found that for this demographic, the chasm between inspiration and action tends to be perilous and sadly, few manage to successfully navigate it.

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is the Director of Come&Live! and is the younger son of David and Jodi Pierce. Come&Live!’s vision is to create a worldwide mission community that will provoke and inspire Christian artists to use their God-given creativity to revolutionize the world for Jesus.

Website: www.steiger.org/benpierce


My heart in writing this is not to add to the millennial bashing that seems in vogue - after all, I am (just barely) part of this generation myself. I rather hope to shed light on some of the struggles, and encourage young followers of Jesus that it is possible to overcome them.

As with so many things in life, awareness is the first step to correction; if you aren't aware of it, you can't fix it.

What follows is part one of a blog series devoted to what I see as the main obstacles to millennials becoming effective, full-time missionaries.

Living in the moment is an anthem for young people today. This mentality produces a suspicion of committing to anything that leads too far into the future. Instead, twenty somethings see life as a series of short adventures, not needing to connect the dots or head in any particular direction.

In the Christian world, we call these intervals “seasons.” While it is relatively easy to get a millennial to sign up for a volunteer position or a short-term trip, it always seems to come with the subconscious assumption that this season will be brief - perhaps six months, rarely more. At its conclusion, whether spoken or assumed, millennials will feel entitled to re-evaluate their position, and will likely step into something entirely different.

I have come across many young Christians who hop from one experience to the next, often doing so well into their twenties.

In my experience, it is very unusual to find a young Christian who is inspired by a cause, considers the cost, and then commits to it indefinitely. In fact, the very word indefinitely seems to induce a gag reflex in those born in the mid 80’s or later.

Sadly, many millennials view missions like casual dating, rather than marriage: something fun, experientially fulfilling, but not requiring significant commitment. Not surprisingly, this perspective is of little value to the often underfunded and understaffed ministries that are desperately trying to meet a particular need.

A noncommittal millennial gains little from short-term involvement that is not sustained long enough to yield fruit in both their personal lives and the task they are working to accomplish. The result is ministries that find themselves in a never-ending recruiting cycle, often wasting considerable resources and energy.

To clarify, not everyone in ministry needs to be full time to contribute in a valuable way, nor does this describe every young person today. The ministry I am involved in is sustained, in large part, due to our army of volunteers, many of them in the early twenties. And yet the harvest is plentiful, and the workers are few (Matthew 9:37), leading me to believe that while not all, certainly more millennials are called to go all in.

Yet today, it's all about short-term and season to season. Long gone are the old-school days of missionaries packing their belongings in a coffin and boarding a boat, knowing that their work would end only when their lives did. That’s pretty hardcore, but if I have learned anything in ministry and life, it’s that half-measures accomplish nothing. We understand this in sports, in relationships, and even in secular vocations, so why not in ministry?

Jesus calls us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). I think if we are honest with ourselves, our reluctance to commit to something has less to do with compatibility or calling, and more the secular mindset. There is nothing more revered in our time than personal autonomy. We are told all day long that life is about fulfilling our desires and controlling our destiny. Giving our lives to anything, or anyone other than ourselves, is antithetical to the spirit of our age.

We have to recognize this pattern of our day, and actively fight it. We should not be surprised when our enemy perverts the truth, attempting to convince us to buy into a mentality that promises freedom but delivers an unfruitful life.

The truth is, someone who spends their whole life avoiding commitment will wake up one day no longer young, having accomplished nothing of significance, and filled with regret.

By contrast, the young follower of Jesus who gives everything - not for a season, but completely and without an exit strategy - will experience the incredible providential power of a God whose desire is to strongly support those whose hearts are fully His (2 Chronicles 16:9).

It is only then that they will make an eternal difference in a world that desperately needs it.

Related items

  • Episode 63: Porn Shows and Fifty Shades Darker with Craig Gross
    Craig Gross is our guest on the podcast, discussing how XXX Church had its start and what God has been doing through his ministry. The conversation heats up, however, when the regulars bring up one of Craig’s recent Facebook posts, and raise the question of how deeply we can immerse ourselves in a scene without being corrupted by it.
  • If the Apostle Paul Had a Band - Part 6 (Finale)
    And so we come to the end - the fourth and final chapter of Philippians. The story of Paul starting this church in Philippi was like that of a band on a very intense tour: he was doing concerts in a prison, had people heckling him in street performances, got beaten up, and eventually started a church with a fashion designer called Lydia, an ex-demon possessed girl, and a prison warden.
  • Episode 61: Shane Claiborne on Melting Guns and Living a Radical Gospel Life.
    Join the Provoke & Inspire regulars for a weird, wild, fantastic interview with Christian activist & best-selling author, Shane Claiborne. We cover topics as broad as melting guns into tools, mewithoutYou, living to serve others, and representing Jesus to the poor and marginalized. This is an episode you don’t want to miss!
  • Artist Interview: Jharmaine Boyd
    I recently had the opportunity to speak with Come&Live! artist Jharmaine Boyd, about being a performance artist for Jesus in Chicago. It was so encouraging to hear the many different ways God has moved in her life, and is continuing to develop her art. Both her perspective and her passion for the Cross are so refreshing, and we're excited to have her as part of our artist community!
  • Episode 60: The Las Vegas Shooting, Hugh Hefner’s Legacy, and the End of Multi-Site Churches.
    With the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, the guys share their thoughts on guns and gun violence in the U.S.A. They also discuss the impact that PlayBoy founder Hugh Hefner has had on our culture and Matt Chandler’s decision to only pastor one church with one location. Is there a random story by David you may ask? Well yes, indeed there is.
Come&Live!
Sign up for our newsletter and receive a FREE digital copy of "Revolutionary, Ten Principles That Will Empower Christian Artists to Change the World" by David Pierce.

Country
Please wait