Dr. Leon Bass is a former high school principal and veteran of World War II. Dr. Bass participated in the liberation of Buchenwald, a Nazi concentration camp in Germany. He has presented his story to audiences all around the United States and the world. A couple of years ago I was privileged to attend his lecture and hear his amazing testimony. Dr. Bass was a member of the 183rd Combat Engineers during the Second World War. During his time of service, his battalion was ordered to go to a small village in Belgium. Just a few miles up the road from this small village were men of the United States army that were prisoners of the enemy. Just a short distance ahead, men’s lives were in danger and needed to be rescued. However, there was a problem. Separating the rescue team from the prisoners was a river that ran right through the middle of the village. The bridge that had once made way to the other side was long gone, and there was simply no other way to get through. On one side of this great divide were trapped US soldiers, and on the other side was an army of men and all the resources needed to rescue them. There was obviously only one solution. Build a bridge. Dr. Bass said that he and the men with him worked night and day, enduring severe weather and even enemy fire to build the bridge that would connect the prisoners with their rescue. They finished bridging the gap, and the soldiers of the 183rd Combat Engineers stood and proudly watched as tanks, trucks carrying soldiers, and supplies crossed the bridge. By building the bridge, the US army was able to bring a great need and the resources to fix this need together. The prisoners were rescued and eventually the Allied forces won the war.
For too long there has been a great divide between Apostolic young adults and an organized approach to connect them to a mission. The General Youth Division recognized that a bridge was needed—a bridge that would connect a great need with the resources required. So began the creation of “Hyphen”. The purpose of Hyphen is to connect eighteen to thirty-year-olds to service… with purpose… through resources… for a mission. The GYD desired to tap into a generation in need and provide them with purpose. In their attempt to achieve this they appointed Nathaniel Binion as the Director of Hyphen. Nathaniel has assembled a diverse team of dedicated men and women from across North America who will work very hard to help bridge the gap between young adults and purpose. We are now watching as much-needed resources are crossing the bridge. We are watching as Hyphen is serving to connect young adults from all across our organization. We are witnessing districts, sections, and local churches start young adult ministries; and we are excited as we see more and more young adult events happening across our movement.
We are not finished. Hyphen has established other goals. We are raising awareness of young adult ministry and building connections with other UPCI young adults. We are equipping them with resources that will empower them for ministry. Hyphen is going to achieve this by supporting the church on all levels: local, sectional, district and general. We are hosting Hyphen tours across the country this fall, hoping to encourage and educate young adults and pastors alike. Hyphen’s website www.hyphenonline.org has become the depository for articles, reading lists, small group studies, and more for Apostolic young adults. Hyphen is the bridge, but it is not a one-way street. We need young adults to become engaged in the process. We need young adults to meet with their pastors and communicate their desire for a young adult ministry in the local church. We need young adults to begin prayer meetings, Bible studies, and small groups.
Dr. Leon Bass and the other brave men of the 183rd Combat Engineers were consumed and zealous about building a bridge. They saw the great need, and that need fueled their desire to build it. Hyphen has laid the foundation; with zeal the bridge has been built. We are now asking young adults to join in the journey with us. Walk across the bridge. Be a Hyphen.