Reflections from 56

Rick Mattson Devotion Leave a Comment

Having recently turned 56 years of age, I’d like to offer some reflections from my 32 years of ministry.

First up: Spiritual Formation.

The young disciples I see being produced in church and campus ministries look something like this:

1. Steeped in contemporary worship culture.
2. Zealous for social justice around causes such as sex-trafficking.
3. Missional.
4. Inclusive.
5. Cooperative, collaborative.
6. In love with the person of Jesus.

All this seems good to me.

The missing piece?

Discipleship of the mind. 

How many Christians age 25 and under, even those who embody 1-6 above, could summarize the whole Bible in five or ten minutes — including the story of creation and fall, the history of Israel, the role of the prophets, the ministry of Jesus and the life of the early church?

Not many.

How many could articulate two or three major reasons for holding to the Christian faith that go beyond their own subjective experience with Jesus?


How many could point out the Sea of Galilee and the cities of Ephesus and Jerusalem on a map of the first-century world?

A small percentage.

Similarly, not many are able to integrate faith and learning — to “think Christianly” about science or history or economics, or whatever they’re studying.


Two probable causes of this “mind gap” are overall anti-intellectualism in the church, and a young generation that values feelings and experience over thinking.

My hope and prayer is that those of us in leadership in the church and campus ministries would add #7 — the mind — to the list of six descriptors above.*

Luke 10:27 calls Christians to love the Lord with heart, soul, strength and mind: a broad vision for well-rounded disciples.

* Discipleship of the mind is a component of InterVarsity’s new national initiatives.

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