I just had an incredible three days speaking at the NUS Varsity Christian Fellowship Freshman Orientation Camp. When I first received the invitation I was stunned. I was a freshman in 1974! I wondered if I what I shared would be relevant. And I definitely didn’t want to be a grumpy know-it-all grandpa prefacing every sentence with “in my time”. (Well, I did say that a few times.) But the students were warm, welcoming, and affirming. A number of them thanked me for what I shared and told me my presentation was helpful. I was glad and thanked God. It reinforced one of our key convictions in Graceworks that the different generations can and must work together. (For the record, this was a Boomer speaking to Gen Zs.)
I think some things may have helped. First, in preparing for the talks, I worked closely with the camp committee. We met a number of times over Zoom and once in person. I respected the FES culture of student initiative and took seriously their perceptions and suggestions. There was also a Q and A session after every talk which I felt was the highlight of my time with them. Teaching with the young must be collaborative. The subject matter of the questions ranged far and wide. I tried to answer the questions as best I could, tentatively pointing out lapses in my knowledge and that these were my understandings at this point in my pilgrimage. I also reminded them to discern biblically whatever any speaker, (myself included) said. There were also some significant one-on-one conversations and I had lunch with some of them on two of the days. There were good conversations round the lunch table.
I must say the three sessions tired me out but I was so glad I did them. If grandpa has had more lived experience and has seen more of life, my young friends have a better feel of the world as it is today. I learnt so much from them; lessons I needed to learn if I am going to be relevant in my ministry in the days ahead. I also met so many incredible young people. I told them my wish is that we can meet again in 5 years’ time to see how their undergrad journey had unfolded. I expect them to be awesome. No pressure. Now grandpa needs to take a nap.