Pete Wilson Talks to Young Adults
On Tuesday nights, our church hosts a young adult worship experience called Kairos. For the past 8 years, I’ve been the primary Bible teacher of this ministry and honestly, it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever been part of. I can brag about it because it wasn’t my idea. A group of young adults in our church asked me to help them get the service started and once we got it started, I talked them into letting me stay around. You can read about how Kairos got started in the book In Real Time. That’s another story.
But I needed to bring up the story to tell you why I’m writing this blog. Because of Kairos, I’m involved with young adults. I spend a lot of time listening to them and their stories. I keep hearing the same things from them. First, they want to live their lives well. Most of them want to live a life that matters, but they don’t know how. Sometimes they grew up in a broken home. Sometimes their parents were too dysfunctional to be a real help to them… or perhaps they didn’t listen to their parents and now, life has them in a place where they have to listen.
So, we talk about what they’re reading and we’ve learned not to assume they have a Bible. After we’ve made sure they have a good Bible reading plan, we ‘ve looked around for other resources for them. Fortunately, one of the guys who is writing most directly and effectively to young adults is from Nashville. His name is Pete Wilson and he’s the founding pastor of Cross Point Church. Over the past several years, I’ve gotten to know Pete and I’ve developed a profound respect for him.
Here are a couple of things I really like about Pete. First, he grew up in Nashville and he has deep passion for reaching his hometown. Second, Pete keeps it real. He’s a gifted preacher (he’s preached several times at Kairos). What makes his preaching particularly effective is his sermons sound more like conversations between the Bible (of which he’s a committed student) and his congregation. As you read his books, you can almost feel the back and forth of a conversation among good friends.
He has two books. His first book, Plan B, was written in response to those who have come to the realization that their grand life dream isn’t going to happen. Sometimes, it’s because of a stupid mistake, or, most likely, of dreams didn’t come from the essence of who we are and were based in a false reality. Either way, the realization is heartbreaking. Pete does a good job in helping the reader come to grips with reality while offering a way of hope for a different future. My only beef with Pete is I read this book when I was 55. I wish I had the book when I was 25.
His second book has just come out and it’s called Empty Promises. In this book, Pete identifies the idols and false gods that are vying for the allegiance of young adults. Pete identifies each of these idols and works through the inevitable destruction each false god brings. The chapter, “We are What We Worship,” alone is worth the price of the book. If we could just get young adults to understand the implications of setting anything in the place where only God belongs, we could avoid years of heartache. Empty Promises is a great book for small groups. Like I said, Pete writes in a way that provokes honest conversation.
So, if you’re a pastor who works with young adults or if you’re a staff member responsible for working with young adults, do yourself a favor and keep a stack of Plan B and Empty Promises in your office. As you listen to the young adults who come into your office, you’ll know which book to give them. Tell them you have a friend in Nashville who recommends them.