Here’s a little tip. The next time you’re at a party, and the conversation starts to lull, bust out this little philosophical gem, “Does a fish know that it’s in water?” On second thought, unless your party is severely on the nerdy side, you may want to keep that question to yourself. However, it does bring up a good point. Does a fish realize that its natural environment is water? I believe that the appropriate answer to this query is: not until it’s gone. Fish aren’t that smart, but I have to assume that when a fish is flopping on the shore, it is acutely aware that something is different.
Hopefully if you’re reading this you are smarter than a striped bass. You understand that surrounding you is an atmosphere composed mostly of Nitrogen and Oxygen, and if you were to try to stay underwater too long bad things would happen. But are you aware of the cultural atmosphere that you’re swimming in? Are you aware that right now there are societal and cultural mores that serve to govern what is acceptable in our world? Don’t believe me? The next time you go to a nice restaurant try eating everything on your plate using just your hands. The dirty looks you receive will be cultural norms at work.
The Germans have a great word for this cultural atmosphere. They call it zeitgeist, and it simply means the spirit of the times. Cultural zeitgeist is at once fixed and fluid. It is constantly changing, but somehow it tends to repeat itself. Paul referenced this concept of zeitgeist in Romans 12:2. He warns us to not be conformed to this world. The Greek word interpreted as world is aion. It is meant to give us the idea of all the temporary expressions of worldly culture that is swirling around us.
Cultural philosophy goes a long way in determining how we see the world around us. One generation may dismiss what another embraces. The radical juxtaposition of cultures between older generations and today’s young adults often leads to chasms of communication. The spirit of the age leads us to see the world through its lens.
Paul addressed the issue of cultural divide in 1 Corinthians 9:22. He said, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Nowhere in the scriptures does it say that infallible biblical truths must be married to a certain style or cultural philosophy. It is important to present the gospel in the way that communicates best to the targeted group. This is what Hyphen seeks to do – communicate timeless truths in a way that resonates with today’s young adults.
Why have we taken up this mission? The answer is quite simple. We are tired of seeing apostolic young adults abandon their walk with God and leave the church. Depending on which study you read somewhere between 60-70% of young adults will completely disengage from their faith in their 20’s. This rate is unacceptable, and depressing! A more hopeful statistic, published by the Lifeway group, tells us that of young adults who stay active in church until the age of 22, 94% will never leave the church. The future of our local assemblies depends on the retention and reclamation of young adults.
Hyphen seeks to connect 18-30 year olds to service, with purpose, through resources for a mission. We want to see a generation that is equipped and empowered to communicate Jesus with their world. A generation that, through the anointing of the Holy Ghost, has risen above the zeitgeist and been transformed by the renewing of their minds. We want to see the Kingdom continued.
— Joel Gray, Hyphen Director of Training & Resources.