We are in the midst of a cultural and moral convulsion. There is a competition for truth and a confusion around identity. As Rebecca McLaughlin notes, there is an entire secular creed that includes a list of statements that we must support if we do not want to be labeled as part of an oppressive system standing against equality. The next generation is looking for clarity on these issues. They are also looking to see who listens to them and who values them.
At the same time, pastors and leaders are weary. It has been a difficult season. Over the past few years, many have experienced trials, upheavals in work and home, and constant demands on time and energy. The challenges and opportunities of today require leaders whose souls are being refreshed by God (see Jimmy Mellado’s article on Page 20), leaders who are willing to model and facilitate difficult conversations, and leaders who are ready to risk in order to unleash the next generation for Christ.
This magazine issue contains some of the conversations that were started at Flourish, a new conference of the National Association of Evangelicals, held in October in Nashville. It offers frameworks for engaging some of the cultural tensions we experience with an eye toward the next generation. We need to create an environment where there is biblical clarity around difficult issues, where people (including leaders) can find welcome and rest, and where all God’s people flourish.
In his article, Walter Kim reminds us of Ezekiel’s vision of water flowing from the temple. It starts as a modest trickle and grows into a mighty river that brings all kinds of flourishing — including trees whose leaves are for healing and fruits are a never-failing source of food (Ezekiel 47:6–12). With humble and repentant confidence, we pray that God might give us insight to speak clearly into the questions people have, that we may be a people who flourish and cause others to flourish, and that we may bear fruit and produce leaves for the healing of those around us.