Answering a New Generation of Questions
Posted by Abdu Murray on August 16, 2018
As we wrapped up our fourth annual ReMind Conference for young adults, a young woman came forward with a quivering lip and glistening eye to ask for prayer. We’d invited all in attendance to come forward to pray with our speaking team and the lines grew long quickly. This young woman’s request for prayer came from the depths of her heart. Doubt had an increasing foothold in her mind–life had beaten her down and she needed something or someone to tell her that God still loved her. As we prayed together, the young woman wept and told me that she now knew that God was with her even if she couldn’t always feel his presence. At that moment, the bridge between her heart and mind had been crossed. Her knowledge of God’s truth could sustain her when her feelings waned.
Her story is one of the many that emerged from the sold-out ReMind Conference, held on August 4-5 at Christ Community Chapel (CCC) in Hudson, Ohio. Our theme this year was “Answering a New Generation of Questions.” The issues young people face, at earlier and earlier stages of their lives, are complex and faith-rattling and, in our experience, young people are hungry to receive answers.
Each year, we incorporate music into the conference and this year we were blessed to share the stage with Grammy award-winning hip-hop artist Lecrae. His spiritual journey from dark teenage years to full devotion to Christ came through in not only his music but also the Q&A time he spent with Vince Vitale and me, and the engaging interview he had with Ravi and Sanj Kalra. Sanj has a heart to see youth touched with the gospel of Christ and he also has a love for hip-hop. When Sanj first learned of Lecrae’s music after becoming a Christian, Sanj was elated, saying “I can listen to hip hop again!” Lecrae brilliantly uses hip-hop’s staccato rhyming and timing to bring a message of struggle and hope through Christ. He gave a masterful performance of his music and shared moving stories during his time on stage with Ravi.
Ravi spoke powerfully about how the answers the secular world provides lack any foundation without God. I spoke on comparative religions and the current culture of confusion, while Vince Vitale spoke on the philosophical reasons for belief in Christianity. Jo Vitale addressed the question “Is the Bible Good News for Women?”, and Sam Allberry spoke on sexuality. Nathan Betts joined us for the Q&A panels, along with BJ Thompson, a friend of the ministry.
Every year, attendees express their gratitude that we have allowed so much time for their questions and this year we intentionally created even more Q&A periods throughout the weekend. Ravi has said that while some ministry happens during our prepared remarks, impactful ministry often happens during the Q&A periods and then even more profoundly as we meet face-to-face with people. ReMind exemplified this. I met with so many people in the hallways to talk with them and answer questions that I can’t possibly recall them all, but one young man in particular comes to mind.
He approached me to ask for prayer because doubt and feelings of meaninglessness dominated his mind. He admitted that he knew the gospel to be true but couldn’t shake the feelings of doubt. I asked him to consider the biblical character Peter; someone whose faith in Jesus was strong but lapsed. When Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times, Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32). I asked the young man if he would spend some time reading that story, reflecting on the fact that even though Peter had denied Christ, he would re-pledge himself to Jesus and “strengthen the brothers.” The next day I saw him at a church service where I was speaking. He had indeed dwelt on the passage the night before. He’s confident in his faith once again, having been equipped at ReMind and strengthened by the reading of God’s word. His mind was renewed.
That’s why it’s called the “ReMind” conference. Paul tells us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds (Rom. 12:2). Through good teaching, engaging Q&A, and powerful music, we watched God transform the hearts and minds of the next generation.
We are still assessing the depth of all that happened at ReMind. We saw the issues of race and generations addressed as young people from diverse backgrounds came together, healing from broken pasts, and young people going into the world with new zeal to share the gospel.
Please continue to pray for us as we seek the Lord’s direction on how we can build on the momentum. We are so grateful to our dear friends at CCC who hosted us with grace, enthusiasm, and care, and for your continued prayers and support. It means so much.