Empty But Full of Promise

Recently, I came across a tweet from the Orange County Register that illustrates the spiritual condition of Millennials in Orange County. The tweet linked to an article and said, “Empty, but full of promise: Look inside some of O.C.’s most spectacularly vacant buildings http://bit.ly/20HXpXW.”

The article highlights 3 vacant Orange County buildings, each of which, in it’s own way, depicts a spiritual reality of life in Orange County.

One of the buildings is brand new and is one of the tallest buildings in Orange County. From the top floor one can get an amazing 360 degree view of South Orange County. Yet this building sits vacant, devoid of life.

A second building highlighted is the Bay Theater in Seal Beach. According to the article, this theater was the favorite spot for Steven Spielberg to watch a movie while he was a student at Long Beach State. Yet this historic theater, a memorial to a bygone era, shut down in 2012, giving way to more modern multiplex stadium theaters.

YMCA Building in Santa Ana, California
The YMCA building in Santa Ana was built in 1923 but has been vacant for over 20 years.

The third building highlighted in the article is the YMCA building in Santa Ana, which has now been vacant for more than 20 years.

So what do these buildings tell us about Orange County? What’s the spiritual connection?

I thought about the new modern building with it’s stunning panoramic views. From it, you can see the ocean, the mountains and all that life in the OC has to offer. In a way, this view represents how many Millennials live life here. Many will give their lives trying to make it to the top, achieving the kind of success that would allow them to experience everything that the OC has to offer. But inside, there’s no life. It’s a fleeting pursuit that cannot deliver the kind of fulfillment and purpose that we all desire deep down in the pit of our being.

The Bay Theater represents the simplicity and purity of mid-20th century America. Progressive thinking and technological advances have brought with it the desire for more. The desire for bigger and faster has made us busier and less connected, which has unwittingly deprived us of what many of us need the most – solitude and the opportunity for personal reflection.

The third building in the article is the Young Mens Christian Association (YMCA) building in Santa Ana. Built in 1923, this building has been vacant now for over 20 years. Ironically, this building represents the post-Christian culture in which we now live. Once a mainstay of the community, shaping young men to live lives of character and influence, this building stands as a relic to the influence Christianity had at one time in the community.

Millennials are the largest segment of American culture and yet they are the least churched. Sometimes referred to as the “Me” generation, they long to experience life to the fullest and see the world changed. Yet as a whole, they’re spiritually empty inside. Imagine if we could reach this generation for Jesus and tap into their potential for a lasting impact on our communities, our country and the world! Millennials are truly empty, but full of promise.

Thank you for partnering with us and praying for us as we seek to reach Millennials in Orange County so that they can achieve their true purpose and fulfill the promise of their spiritual potential!

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