Posted: 9/22/15 at 8:15am. Article by Blake Tommey.
In the field of sociology, scholars have coined a technical term known as plausibility structure. Among those who seek to understand how people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors are influenced by others, plausibility structure is essentially a social arrangement wherein a person is surrounded by a consensus which reinforces that consensus.
Welford Orrock, director of the Virginia Baptist Kairos Initiative, puts it a bit more simply.
“When it comes to believing we’re not crazy,” Orrock explains, “it’s important to be around people speaking the same language, conveying the same ideas, practicing the same practices and recognizing the same symbols.”
“For most young adults in the millennial experience, the idea that we profess faith in Christ — that his ethic becomes our ethic, that his character becomes our character, that his mission becomes our mission — is an idea that is less and less prevalent. Part of young adult Christian community is about understanding that who we are is not wrong or misguided, and it’s important for us to be around individuals who share that same mission.”
That is why the Kairos Initiative will hold its third annual Fall Gathering on October 30 through November 1 at Eagle Eyrie Conference Center. On the final weekend in October, young adults across the commonwealth are invited to gather in the mountains outside of Lynchburg to explore community, discipleship and mission together.
The weekend will feature keynote speaker Brian Jennings, student minister at First Baptist Church Woodstock, Ga., as well as the music of Unbroken Light, a band out of Fredericksburg, Va.
As young adults explore what it means to follow Jesus and join God in the world, a theme called “Renovate” will guide questions and discussion. Jennifer Mullins, collegiate minister at Radford University and planning team leader for the gathering, says the theme hopes to capture young adults’ attraction toward God’s work of restoration, not only in their own lives but in the world around them.
“God is constantly creating and recreating in our lives,” Mullins says.
“No matter where you are in your faith — whether you are searching and have a lot of questions or feel very confident in your faith — God is at work restoring you and making the world new. Jeremiah 18, the passage that we will center on at Fall Gathering, reminds the community that it is constantly on the potter’s wheel, and that God is shaping us, molding us, and remaking us.”
Through large worship gatherings as well as intimate breakout sessions, young adults across the commonwealth will be exploring God’s work of restoration together, not only among collegiate ministries but among any young adult community in Virginia.
It would be easy, Orrock says, to target only the isolated and insular experience of a college student at a fall gathering, but the foundation of the Kairos Initiative is about engaging the much larger experience of young adulthood.
“What really hits the Kairos idea on the head is the openness of the retreat to the full breadth of 18- to 25-year-olds,” Orrock says.
“The questions we’re asking and the scope of our worship and reflection are broader than simply what a college student experiences. This is a young adult retreat, and that means we engage bigger things, like vocation, calling, and our relationship with the world and our neighbors. And even if the majority of the participants live in the college experience, we don’t think about that as a fixed perspective, but as a context for asking the questions that they will continue to ask for the rest of their lives — about calling, mission and identity.”
To learn more about the Kairos Initiative and its 2015 Fall Gathering, visit www.kairosinitiative.org.