My grandparents lived in the same town for 65 years…
My dad’s been pastoring the same church for 30 years…
I’ve been attending and serving North Phoenix Baptist Church for nearly 10 years…
I’ve been drinking venti iced coffees from Starbucks several times a week for 9 years…
I’m a long-term kind of guy who comes from a long-term family. But like you, I live in a short-term world.
We live in a world where you can tweet, facebook, email, IM, text, call, Instagram, Snapchat, HeyTell…or I don’t know, sit down with someone to start a conversation. (novel idea)
We send friend requests, follow people, subscribe to their feeds, and ping them to see if they’re available.
Our culture lives and dies with happened today – last hour – this minute.
In that world – where it is becoming increasingly difficult to have perspective, it seems like it is becoming even harder to sustain the value of long-term relationships. As everything becomes disposable, we become tempted to treat people the same way too. And that’s shaky ground.
This fall is the beginning of the seven school year I’ve been working with college students at my church. I’ve never more clearly seen my mistakes. I’ve never wished more that I could go back in time and teach myself the lessons I know now. I’ve also never believed more in the importance of investing myself in the lives of college students and young adults.
The beauty of being in one place for this many years, working with some of the same people for that whole time, is that I get to see growth. Massive growth. Transformation. The “you used to be here and now you’re way over here” kind of maturing.
I’ve been hosting these dinners this month with college students, talking about issues and challenges that the seasons of early young adulthood brings. We’ve been talking about questions like “How do you make good decisions? Who do you give access to speak into your life? How do you get along with your parents when you live at home during college?” We’re only halfway done, so we still have some interesting conversations to have.
As I sat in living rooms the last two Monday nights, I’ve been blown away by the maturity I’ve witnessed in some people I’ve known for years now. One night, I heard from one student who said to other students – “Learn from my experience.” And I thought on my drive home both nights how cool it is to be in one place long enough to see people change. In a short-term world, long-term relationships keep you grounded. As a pastor in a culture that has no perspective, seeing the transformation happen means everything.
As a pastor, as a friend, as the random guy whose life you’re looking in on through this blog, let me urge you to consider buying into the value of long-term relationships in a short-term world. Find some people and stick with them – through all the mess and the insanity of life. Find some people who will stick with you – through all of your immaturity and ridiculous moments.
Tweet, Facebook, IM, text, email, Instagram, call, HeyTell – you can do all that. But do it with some people that you have a longer commitment to – and that have a longer commitment to you – than that cheap dresser you got from Ikea.
I promise – it’s better that way!