A few weeks ago I was sitting on a plane watching the recent movie release, Maze Runner – The Scorch Trials. One of my sons recommended it. The opening scenes of Maze Runner occur in a devastated and desolate urban landscape with towering skyscrapers toppled into each other; the wealth and highest architectural achievements of a previous generation crumbling to dust. Additionally, many human inhabitants have mutated into something else – something diseased and contagious with a voracious appetite to devour those who are normal and healthy.

I was surprised and at first annoyed that this was yet another story of twenty-somethings dealing with a post-apocalyptic landscape; a landscape that included zombie-like creatures (which are never called zombies in this film by-the-way). I groaned at this addition to a long list of similar films and video games.

Suddenly it hit me – what the stories of this genre have in common: in each story young adults are facing a world they didn’t make and didn’t choose – a world in which the values and strategies of previous generations seem useless.

The main characters in the Maze Runner, and each story in this genre, have to learn an entirely new set of survival skills from those of their ancestors. Money is of little use in this arena. Rather, in this hostile environment friends are valued above all, and it is through the supportive alliances of friendship that the main characters find meaning, and purpose . . . and survival.

Leadership Lessons from a Zombie Apocalypse

I ache for a generation that believes the skills taught them by the preceding generation are insufficient to address the challenges of the world they have inherited. I wonder if success, as defined in their parent’s world, seems completely out of reach to them. What does seem clear is that the world they perceive is entirely unlike their parent’s world – and their definition of success has been adjusted accordingly. Success, in these apocalyptic stories, is simply being alive one more day in the company of faithful friends.

This is by no means a criticism, instead it is my attempt to see the world as it appears to an emerging generation. My hope is to address their needs in their world as it is – not as I wish it to be.

Please pray for us at Freedom to Lead as we cultivate men and women to become Christ-centered, competent leaders within the lived realities and perceptions of their world rather than those of a world as we wish it to be. Pray also that we will always be learning . . . even from zombies.

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