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3 Things to do before you’re 30

Several days ago a young man asked me what advice I had for him concerning his life.  My general advice to all young people is pray more, risk more, love more.  But there are three specific things you as a young person need to do while you’re still in your 20’s.  Call it a “Before-…
By Seth Barnes

Several days ago a young man asked me what advice I had for him concerning his life.  My general advice to all young people is pray more, risk more, love more.  But there are three specific things you as a young person need to do while you’re still in your 20’s.  Call it a “Before-I’m-30 Bucket List.”

1. Spend 2 years overseas

We serve a God who wants to give us a kingdom worldview. He wants us to see the world as he sees it, to have our heart break with the things that break his heart. Most of us will spend 17 years confined by the walls of a classroom and graduate with minds that need more experiential understanding of how the world works. And, we live at a time in history when it has never been easier to travel. We need to go beyond our borders and experience the incredible richness of life.
 
We Americans are far too narrow as a group and we Christians are far too parochial.  We need to get outside our borders and outside our comfort zones and challenge our limited perspectives.

The Mormons learned this long ago and made two years of mandatory service standard for young people.  I believe this, more than anything else, is the driving force behind the growth of their faith.  We need to learn from them.  Two years of overseas service should be mandatory for young people.  It turns them into international thinkers and switches on their kingdom mindset. 
 

2. Live in community
You were made for community. We humans are social animals. God designed us to interact and interact with others. That’s why the assembled grouping of his children is called “the body of Christ.” Jesus prayed that his followers would be one. We need to do the same.
 
Most young people are never given the opportunity to experience the grace and safety of authentic community. Our American social contract was born out of rebellion and emphasized independence. We need to learn the concept of interdependence from scratch. Live in a kibbutz, join an urban community, go on the World Race, but don’t start your family and your career without having experienced the thrill of true body life.
 
3. Find a Paul and a Timothy

We all need someone who is older and wiser than us to help us
understand the wild world in which we live. Paul was that to many. He
discipled them by taking them with him on is trips. They benefited from
his experience and didn’t have to make all the missteps that Paul made.
We need to find a Paul in our lives. Yesterday a young man I don’t know
called me up and asked to be discipled. Since he was referred by a
friend, after a short interview as I was going through the Atlanta
airport, I said “yes.” If you have never been discipled, you owe it to
yourself.
 
And if you have been discipled, then you owe it to
others to pass on what you’ve received. If you’ve been a Timothy, then
find others to pour into. The only qualification to disciple others is
that you be one step ahead of them, able to show them how to avoid a
few of potholes and where to find life and encouragement. It doesn’t
have to be an overwhelming thing. If you’re interested in growing as a
discipler, you may want to read more of the blogs I’ve written on the
subject.

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