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David Coffey
Travel companies invite young people to dive deeper into spine tingling adventures.
They can drive a husky dog sledge for seven days across the frozen wilderness of Lapland
They can ride a bicycle for 475 miles travelling from north to south in Vietnam
They can trek for fi ve days on a camel in the searing heat of the Wadi Rum Desert
They can ride a motorbike on a 20,000 mile journey of 12 countries and 19 time zones
But I am proud that more than 6,000 young Baptists from 89 countries opted to “dive deeper” into a life changing
experience with Jesus Christ by attending the BWA 15th Baptist Youth World Conference in Leipzig, Germany. Well done to
German Baptists and to Emmett Dunn and his team for arranging such a magnifi cent event.
As I attended the various sessions of the BWA Youth Conference I was inspired and invigorated by the passion of these
young people. I was not a speaker at the event so I was able to refl ect more fully on the experience of “diving deeper.”
I have concluded that this generation of young people has an infectious hope about the future. They would agree with
Martin Luther who said, “Even if I knew tomorrow that the world would go to pieces – I would still plant my apple tree.”
This generation of young Christians doesn’t appear to fear the future as they believe the time is always the right time to do
what is right – whatever the state of the world.
They have an endless passion to change the world. Martin Luther King issued the warning that we will not only have
to repent for the acts of bad people – but for the appalling silence of good people. I sense this emerging generation of
Christians have no intention to keep silent. They are the ones who intend to stand up and speak out. The youngest speaker
at the conference was 16 year old Zach Hunter who has been stirred to speak out on issues of human slavery. You can feel
his passion to change the world when you view his video “Be the Change” on YouTube, and read his book “Be the Change:
Your Guide to Freeing Slaves and Changing the World.”
They are impressively persuasive in sharing their faith. I was the secret listener to dozens of conversations during the
week. Standing in a queue for an ice cream; sitting on the tram going to the conference center; walking alongside a group
on the way to a seminar; listening to a testimony in a small group. I observed a transparency and directness about the way
these young Baptists were sharing their faith in Jesus with one another – often through a translator!
So I was not surprised at the end of the week to meet a number of young people who told me they had committed their
lives to Jesus Christ and were going back to their church with the intention of being baptized and becoming engaged within
their local community.
They have a fearless commitment to following Jesus. There is an old saying – “Who is the hero of heroes?” The true
hero is not the one who defeats the enemy but the one who can transform the enemy into a friend. Jesus is a hero of heroes to
these young people because he was an extremist for love. In a world of hate he said, “Love your enemies.” He was willing
to go to the cross for his passion. He prayed for those who mocked him, “Father forgive them for they know not what they
These young people worship Jesus Christ jubilantly as the Lion and the Lamb who shares the power of his risen life
with those who will follow his way.
So I say thank you to these young Baptists for teaching me to be more
Hopeful about the future
Passionate about changing the world
Persuasive in sharing my faith
Fearless in my commitment to follow Jesus
Friends, I have no fears about the future of the church! DIVING DEEPER
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