Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Anniversary Update!

Last week, I posted the 52nd Quest Forums article. Having started out in February, 2015, that means I averaged better than a post a week. Of course, it did not work out quite that way in practice, but it still feels like a milestone. I may not be reaching the audience of my wildest dreams, but I have experienced some growth. And I proved something to myself, at the very least, by having the dedication to stick with it.

I’m not writing this just to toot my own horn, though. It is also an update. I’m about to embark on “Phase 2.” In the next few weeks, I will be starting a small-group forum to go along with the online ministry. I hope to continue posting articles here as a way to go into greater depth and share with a larger number of people. But I think the best learning occurs in true, face-to-face conversations. The time has come to create a space for them.

Reaching the Next Generations

You may have noticed occasional mentions of the fact that this ministry is aimed at young adults. That is an important element to me. Millennials, and the young currently-nameless generation coming up behind them, can often feel underserved in church. Either they do not feel organized religion can offer anything to their lives, or they feel ostracized and infantilized by it. My hope is to take part in changing that.

There is a God, and He has expressed Himself. We can know what He wants from us and for us, and that it is good. Questions can be answered with an informed faith, which is not a contradiction. And young people do not always have to be sequestered in their own separate groups. They can be part of the full life of the church. But without the church, they cannot experience a full life. We need one another.

With all that said, one thing needs to be made clear. Though this ministry is primarily for young adults, it is not exclusively for them. Everyone has questions, so anyone is welcome. They just need to understand the tone.

Defining the Quest

I have explained the meaning of “Quest” before, and I will do so again. Every journey starts with a question: “Where do I want to go?” And to answer it, others have to be resolved along the way: “Where am I now? Why am I here? Why do I want to go somewhere else? How do I get there?” You might not always thing about it, but you ask yourself these questions whether you are going for a gallon of milk or facing an existential crisis.

Obviously, we don’t stop once we get the answers. When we have them, we have to decide what to do with them. We have to choose to move. We have to count the cost to see if what is out there is better than what is right here. That isn’t always easy. Life is a long road, and we can’t see very far down it. But it can be easier when we have others to share it with. As a line from The Legend of Zelda says, “It’s dangerous to go alone!”

That, in large part, is what the church is for. Whenever people get together, there will have to be some level of organization, or otherwise they are not really together. They are just in the same space. But if church has “rules and regulations,” that does not mean church is about them. At least, it shouldn’t be. Church is about sharing the quest to find God, whether you are coming to know Him for the first time or learning to deepen your relationship with Him day by day. We need each other if we are going to do this.

That is why this ministry has the motto, “Seeking Meaning Together.” Questions and answers are important, but they are not everything. For one, no one other than God has all of them. But for another, they are only information. Without being lived, they are sterile. The only way to live the answers of the Bible is to love. And the only way to love is to be with others. It cannot really be done from a distance. Not most of the time, anyway.

And I think, in spite of the isolation our digital age might seem to produce, my generation understands this. At some level, we all know it is better to be together because we can help each other. It might sound odd, but one of the ways a lot of us know it is through video games. Some of the best ones, in my opinion, are those where you do not play as just one character. You start out on your own, facing a seemingly insurmountable task. But over time, you collect a party of others. It is a group, and in the group abilities complement one another to cover weaknesses and make the whole strong. Then, the characters grow together until they are able conquer anything that stands in their way.

The Next Step

I think that is a vision of what the church should be, and can be. It is the vision I feel the Lord drawing me to be a part of. Now, the next step is to find others who want to be a part of it, too. We won’t be a church, not yet. The first thing is to just get together and start thinking about the questions. People will come and go, and those who go will hopefully at least have something to help them in their next steps. But for those who stay, it will be a place where we build up our strengths together and prepare for the journey. That is our quest.

Some of you may be interested in that. If so, let me know and I will keep you in the loop on when and where the group will start. Or, you may know someone who might get something out of it. Send them my way. For the rest of you, thanks for reading, and know that I need you, too. I need you to keep reading, to keep sending questions, and to keep sharing. You have no idea how much encouragement that provides. But more than anything, I need everyone reading to pray.

Pray for me, that I have the courage to do my small part in this beautiful thing the Lord is building. Pray that this ministry will reach others who need it, wherever they are on the journey. Pray that it will stay on course, dedicated to truth for the sake of love. And pray that I will find the people who will go with me. I cannot do it on my own. That is not how quests work. But with the Lord watching over, I trust we will find each other. And if I know I have your support in taking this next step, it will be that much easier to keep moving forward.

Thanks for checking out the Quest Forums blog! If you enjoyed this post, please consider following me here, on Twitter (@Quest_Forums), or on Facebook (“Quest Forums”). Links are in the sidebar. I am always looking for new questions and comments, so submit yours on any of these sites or by emailing questforums.ask@gmail.com. And please, spread the word! The share buttons below are a great way to do that. I want to connect with as many people as possible, so if you know anyone with questions about the Bible, send them my way.

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