I had a dream.
I had a few dreams.
Dreams about girls and college campuses.
Let me tell you about my dreams.
In the eleventh chapter of John’s revelation, the first fourteen verses talk about two witnesses, also called prophets, that were killed for a time, then resurrected. I believe those two prophets are Judaism and Christianity. These are the two witnesses on the earth concerning God’s over-arching plan for humanity. I also believe we are in the time where those two witnesses appear to be dead, or dying. But I also believe God is getting ready to resurrection those two witnesses. That’s what both my dreams have been about.
Over the last three years I’ve had this reoccurring dream about being on a college campus. In every dream it’s a different campus. Some I recognize, most I don’t. In one I was back at the first college I attended straight out of high school, Ozark Bible College. Sometimes the details of what’s going on are different. But in every dream one thing is the same. I feel out of place. I’m wandering the campus, looking for my next class, or my dorm room, but can’t find them.
I’ve known that all these dreams were God-dreams, but I haven’t understood what God was speaking to me through them until recently.
In one dream I was at Ozark Christian College, walking around the campus, when I came to the chapel there, on top of the hill. As I walked into the back of the chapel, onto the stage, it was mostly empty. But, as I continued walking off stage and down the aisle, the chapel suddenly swelled with so many people. As I was exiting the OCC chapel, and heading into the foyer, I noticed Will Smith on a small, makeshift stage at the back of the chapel singing. I wasn’t sure what to make of the dream, but it became more clear the next day.
The next day I was meeting with a prayer team I’m on for the college campus ministry, InterVarsity. I meet once a month with Andy and Patti to pray for three college campuses in our area, and Emily who heads up the InterVarsity ministries there. Over the summer we decided to meet at all three campuses to pray for revival. That day we were at the Carson Newman campus to pray. As we walked around and prayed, I told Andy and Patti about my dream. As we talked, God began to unfold the dream for me. I realized that it was about Church revival beginning on the college campus. As we continued to pray, we passed the performing arts building, and Patti started praying about how God could use music to reach the younger generations. That’s when the Will Smith part of the dream came back to me. It was then that I realized, God wants to use music as a part of the effort to evangelize the younger generations.
A month earlier our InterVarsity prayer team met at the Maryville College campus to pray. It was on that campus that I remembered another college dream I’d had. As we walked around and prayed, we passed the campus athletic building. When I saw the front of that building, I remembered it from one of my dreams. From that dream, and that recollection, I believe that my own ministry will begin at the Maryville College campus. It’s there that I want to start a weekly Q. and A. session where anyone on campus can come and ask the hard questions. I’m calling this “What’s Wrong With the World, and what can Jesus do about it?”
The younger generations are struggling with depression, anxiety, loneliness, and mental health issues. That’s why I felt so out of place in all my college dreams, because that’s how they feel. As culture has shifted away from God, it’s become increasingly empty. The younger generations have grown up in a culture that has no value or familiarity with Christ or Christianity. They are suffering from that loss, but don’t know the truth of how Jesus can save them. It’s my aim to teach them what Jesus can do for them, in the midst of their struggles, because I’ve had the same struggles with depression, anxiety, and feeling lost and alone. I also know what it feels like to think that the current church expression doesn’t fit me.
I want to reintroduce the younger generations to Jesus in a new way. I want to share with them how Jesus has healed me from my own struggles with depression, anxiety, and loneliness. I also want to give them the opportunity to ask questions, and voice their frustration with Church and Christianity. I want to give them the chance to be heard, and to hear how Jesus really can bring our world out of the bad place it’s currently in. I believe, more than a Sunday morning church service, open, honest conversations will draw people back to Christ. I believe we need to take Christ to the younger generation, instead of waiting for them to come to our churches. I believe, if we can take Jesus to where they are, they will eventually come back to church. But I also believe the Church needs them as much as they need the Church. That’s what my other series of dreams have been about.
My other dreams have been about girls. In these dreams I’m with a beautiful woman in a church. In one particular dream we were sitting in the balcony of a magnificently constructed church sanctuary, with beautiful wood, stained glass, and stone, like the catholic churches of old. As we’re sitting in the balcony, there’s a flurry of activity in the sanctuary below us, as church service after church service comes and goes. After a while, things calm down, the sanctuary empties out, and everything is quiet. Through all the noise of the services, we’re just there sitting, talking, enjoying each other’s company.
I believe the Church today is much like that dream. It’s full of so much noise and activity, but it doesn’t know how to just sit down and enjoy relationship with God and each other. We’re doing stuff, but not the stuff that really matters. I believe people are tired of the programs and activities. I believe people are looking for genuine relationship, not services and lectures from the stage. And I believe that’s partly why the younger generations have given up on the current expression of Church.
The younger generations need the Church, and the Church needs the younger generations. Both are not in a great place. Both need Jesus in a new way. As it’s written in the prophet Isaiah, “Behold, I am going to do something new, now it will spring up; will you not be aware of it?” (Isaiah 43:18b-19a).
God is getting ready to do something new in His church. Be praying along with me for those the things, and the part we all have to play in that. Amen!!