A new generation Eastern Europeans

Here I am in our beloved Transylvania visiting old fortified churches and castles, enjoying nature and impressive fortresses and forests. Speaking with people that talk so slow that I have time to guess their next word and having fellowship with old friends and colleagues that have served with us in YWAM Constanta over the years.

I love the time here and love visiting great projects and speaking with people that have big hearts for what they are doing. I wish the EU and other officials would value the small and most efficient organizations with more funds and better support. That would have been better than what is happening today. Well, lets not get in to that right now…

What I see today is a generation that we have not seen before in Central and Eastern Europe- a generation that is different and that has power to change their own nation and the world.

This is a generation that thinks differently than 5 and 10 years ago, a generation that is requiring a different leadership and a generation that has all the possibilities in the world. That is the young generation of today!

When I grew up we had a split in Europe with both sides having been affected by the Cold War. Communism ruled on the Eastern side and so called Democracy on the Western side. Today young people can read about it in history books and see old clips on YouTube. They don’t have any point of reference for it however, just as the old people have no reference point to their former kings.

Then came the 90’s where things went crazy. Leadership became who could steal the most and who could get the most contact and money. The leadership style of the 90’s was power and corruption. I came into this nation in this time period and remember it with a sense of fear- never again the late 90’s.

Today the young generation that was born in 2000 and later does not remember the old communist leaders that changed clothes to become democratic and they don’t follow their crazy power and manipulative leadership. They say no to corruption and are willing to fight for it. That is why we had more people demonstrating in Bucharest last year than during the revolution back in 1989. How can we live with political people trying to pass laws that allow corruption?

This generation is not poor like some western countries try to portray it. They are full of resources. They have one of the best Internet connections in Europe and smart phones in their back pockets. They go to university and they are not ready to be led by old men with stolen money. They are not ready to follow those who drive the nicest cars, but only those who speak after they have done something, lead from a place of integrity, and tell them “walk with me.”

We are facing the most significant generation (maybe) in Romania history. They can go wherever they want, do what ever they want and become what ever they want, without any point of reference to the old sin and problems.

Are we ready for this generation?

I wish I could say yes, though I think some are. Google is for sure. They are moving in, creating new offices and jobs. They are not looking for old men in suites and big cars, they are looking for the future and they will go for this generation for sure. They will not say follow us, they will say come walk with us.

This is the defining point: how can you say follow me, when following you means that finances are a mess because you have justified double accounting with “this is Romania or Eastern Europe”? How can I follow you when your way in to leadership was a crooked and corrupted one? How can I follow you when the standard of today doesn’t count for you, but for all the others? And how can I follow you when your leadership is not for you to grow but for you to control with shame, blame, power and a manipulative leadership style?

This young generation will not follow you because of your past, but they will say let’s walk together. Leaders that dare to say “walk with me” will have waves of young people walk with them- more talented, more radical, more full of life, with only the galaxies as the limits.

I am exited about this generation and for many churches and missions it will be a radical change to be able to give room for these youngsters. Clouding, music, style and language are all new, and they will not silently adjust like before.

They will ask questions like WHY?

These are good questions and will most likely be hard to give profound answers to as a lot of the rules are just made by powerful men. The answers most of the time will be change or die because this generation will not be led by power and manipulation.

In the same time we are all looking for life and good leadership, people that cheer you on, walk with you and are close to you. We are all looking for unity and celebration. As a YWAM leader someone told me, if we are not in unity our DTS schools won’t have students. It shows how important it is to create leadership full of life and not position. For our own mission, where we have had to cancel over half of our schools, it should be a wake-up call for all leaders. Change is not too late but if we don’t change we will lose an amazing generation!

What worked before is old and I am hoping we take lessons from the past and love people enough that we can give room for the new that is coming. Even if it’s so new, so challenging and even some times provoking, as long as there are good values, morals and a standard we need to change our form before the form changes us.

Till next time don’t follow anyone but walk together with someone full of life, passion and heart- ready to live and make changes!

Rune Saether

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