Who are today’s most influential people? The wealthy? The politicians? The athletes? Several weeks ago I listened to a talk by Tim Keller that was given at the most recent Resurgence conference. In the talk he was sharing his thoughts regarding how the church can effectively win today's culture. One of his points was that we must win those he called the “grass root elites.” Who are these people? According to Keller they are the young creative types. Many of these people are working for companies that are shaping today’s youth culture. A few examples of these companies would be MTV and Facebook.
In the recent issue of Fast Company Mark Zuckerberg, the 22-year-old CEO and founder of Facebook is featured for his gutsy decision to turn down a buy-out deal for $1 billion dollars from Yahoo and Viacom. Facebook, a website that connects people in social networks, was started by he and his roommate several years ago while they were students at Harvard. Things were going so well that they dropped out of school in order to divert more attention to their growing business. What I found most interesting about this article was how these guys ran their business.
As you see in these few pics, their office is more like a dormitory than a corporate office, they wear jeans and sandals, their hours are abundant but flexible, their meals are catered, their dirty clothes are laundered for free (company benefit), and they appear to have a lot of fun.
So, how do we reach these young innovators who are shaping todays culture? This is a great question and one that we should ask. One thing for sure, they appear to be the kind of people who resist formal institutionalism in favor of casual creative environments. They also appear to be hard-working people who will pour out their lives for a cause they believe in.
The question I have for the church is, “why are young people like this doing all they can to stay away from the church?” After all, we are the ones with the greatest cause, aren’t we? My challenge for church leaders is to consider people like Zuckerberg (and young innovators like him) when they are examining how to strategically reach our culture and commit themselves to contextualizing the gospel in order to bring Christ to this generation that is both highly influential and also the least churched in American history.