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Anna Johnson, Love Thy Neighborhood’s Program Director, here. We sent our LTN Intensive team back into the world as LTN Alumni this past Friday, and we’re definitely missing them already! I wanted to personally honor them by sharing some of the biggest things I learned from getting to lead them this summer…

1 – Do it scared.

As a Millennial trying to lead a bunch of Gen Z folks in a missions program, one of the biggest things I’m told is “watch out — Gen Z is realllllly anxious!”

It’s true – the generation of young adults that became adults during one of the weirdest things any of us have lived through (COVID) is familiar with anxiety, BUT God has given them a measure of faith big enough to match any fear they have. (This is what God does for his people!)

I gave this team of Urban Missionaries tasks that scared ME this summer, and every time I gave instructions that felt a little out there (ex. find your way to a random neighborhood using the buses without looking at your phone), they did what I asked [and usually more]. They would take a deep breath and “do it scared.”

I want to be like our our summer team of Urban Missionaries in this way – allowing my fear to drive me to walk with wisdom and deep faith, never wavering when God calls me to do something new, even when it’s scary.

2 – Passion is what God uses to drive us forward.

Our team this summer gave me so much hope for the church in our time.

God puts passion in each of our hearts to propel us forward. Each of us has different things we feel passionate about, and when we all get together, this can produce such momentum to drive the whole church forward to so much justice, goodness, and love.

Unfortunately, sometimes passion is hard to live with…

When we don’t know how to turn our passion into something productive RIGHT AWAY, it can be much easier to allow our passion to numb into apathy or sour into bitterness.

The team I had the privilege of leading this summer modeled for me what is looks like to live with uncomfortable passion, refusing to allow it to turn to apathy or bitterness and trusting God to use it to drive the church to greater beauty and Christlikeness.

It was an honor to lead our team of Urban Missionaries this summer. Looking forward to learning many more lessons from the future teams God brings to this ministry.

Peace + love,

Anna J