Describe what “Together 2016” was and how it turned out.
Nick Hall: Together 2016 was a dream five years in the making. For years I had read about revivals of the past—these incredible testimonies like the Welsh Revival or the First and Second Great Awakening—and had thought, “Why couldn’t that happen today?”
As I prayed and dreamed over these five years, I started to find that other leaders across the nation also had an incredible burden to see revival in America. We started talking and praying about what it would look like to come together, even for one day, to lift up Jesus with people from all walks of life.
So the vision of Together 2016 was born, and all along the way we saw God answer prayers. We booked the National Mall, had incredible speakers and artists join us like Francis Chan, Ravi Zacharias, and Hillsong United, and on July 16, 2016, we saw hundreds of thousands of people convene on the National Mall in Washington DC to lift up the name of Jesus.
Our hope and dream for July 16 was that it wouldn’t just be an emotional experience, but that it would be a launching pad to take the message of Jesus to this nation. Throughout the day we focused on the importance of prayer and digging into Scripture, of sharing the love and the message of Jesus with the world. While it’s true that our event had to end several hours early because of the heat, we truly believe God renewed a commissioning onto a generation to reach this nation.
What is PULSE and the “Reset Movement”?
Nick Hall: PULSE is a nonprofit organization I started out of college in response to the incredible need I saw in my generation. As a college student, I had come face-to-face with the depression, suicide, and ultimately the emptiness that my peers were struggling to fill. I would go from campus to campus telling students, “Jesus is the answer. Jesus is the reset you’ve been looking for.”
This whole idea of a “reset” is tied to the technology this generation is so familiar with. When our phone or computer isn’t working, we press the reset button. To reset a system is to get it working toward it’s intended purpose. And in the same way, we believe that Jesus died and rose to bring us back into relationship with the Father. Jesus is the supernatural reset we’ve been looking for.
Over the years, this “reset” message really started to take root across the nation. I like to tell people, “Reset is not my message. It’s not PULSE’s message.” This isn’t about spreading a new metaphor. This is about spreading the gospel. So, if it’s helpful for someone else to take the message of “reset” and use it at their church or event or whatever—go for it! I want as many people as possible to know that Jesus changes everything.
What are the top one or two spiritual issues most pressing on today’s youth?
Nick Hall: I think identity and value are probably the two biggest issues for the youth of this generation. Everyone wants to be someone, and everyone wants to feel loved. In the teenage and college years, it’s natural for young people to search for their identity and ask the hard question, “Who am I?” At the same time, I’ve met so many young people who are struggling to find their value in life, not only asking, “Who am I?” but “What does it matter?”
Most often, issues of depression or addictions come from young people trying and failing to find the answer to these questions. And the opportunity that’s often missed by followers of Jesus is to speak into that culture, and to tell young people that the gospel answers both of these questions—that Jesus is the answer.
What do the young people you encounter think about the Bible?
Nick Hall: Many people believe this is the most biblically illiterate generation in America’s history, and I know I’ve seen it. One study by LifeWay found that only 45% of people who attended church read their Bible every week—and these are people in the church!
So I think for a lot of young people who are either outside of the church or raised in the church, they don’t see the value of reading the Bible or trying to understand what it means for them. But at the same time, a lot of millennials really do look up to and respect Jesus. They see how he healed the sick and cared for the poor, and they love that. The challenge is in finding a way to connect the Jesus they admire with the Bible that’s collecting dust on their parents’ bookshelf.
What role does the Bible play in encouraging people to reset their lives?
Nick Hall: The beautiful thing about the Bible is that it shows us not only how far we are from God, but how far God went so that we could know Him. If you don’t already believe you need a reset, all you have to do is open the pages of Scripture to realize how much we need Jesus. At every outreach I speak at, I offer gospel booklets that take people through either Luke or John and connect the words of the gospels to real life. Scripture has the power to change hearts, and as we bring students into contact with God’s Word, we trust that God will work in their lives.
What do you mean in your book to “reset my faith”?
Nick Hall: Hebrews 11 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, and for a lot of people in the church, I think Hebrews 11 is a chapter we love to read but hate to live. We love the stories of Abraham and Moses, yet in our hearts I think we count them as the exception rather than the rule.
But then you get down to verse 6, which says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” And so I see that God is calling me to live a life of faith, and yet so often I trust him only as far as I can see. Like the man who cried out to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!” this leads me to cry out, “Reset my faith!”
I think there are a lot of people who have grown up in the church and have checked the box marked “Christian,” yet have never truly known Jesus. Or maybe they used to be really passionate about Jesus, but now are more or less indifferent to him. And to both of those people, I’d tell them that Jesus stands ready to reset their faith. Faith isn’t about figuring it all out. Faith is about turning to and trusting Jesus.
How can a person “reset my generation”?
Nick Hall: Resetting a generation has to start with faith-fueled prayer. If you don’t see a need in your generation, why would you pray? And if you don’t believe God can do anything about it, why would you pray? But if you see a great need and believe God can turn it around, then you’ll be driven to prayer. And when we pray, God moves.
For the individual wondering, “What can I do?” I’d tell them to never underestimate the power of prayer personally or globally. Our prayers can change hearts and nations, and all we have to do from there is be available to God. Starting in our families and moving out in our circles of influence, God has given each of us opportunities to share the message and love of Jesus with others.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Nick Hall: The reset life starts with you.
One time I had the opportunity to visit Billy Graham. I asked him several questions, yet he answered every one with a variation of the same truth. “Jesus,” he said. “You have to spend time with Jesus.”
For each of us, the reset life is strengthened when we daily spend time with Jesus. Yes, Lord Jesus, reset my generation. And let it start with me.
Bio: Nick Hall is the author of the book Reset: Jesus Changes Everything, and the Founder and Chief Communicator for PULSE, a ministry at the center of some of the largest student-led prayer and outreach efforts in the world. Nick sits on the leadership teams for the US Lausanne Committee, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the student advisory team for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). As a voice to the next generation, Nick has shared the Gospel with nearly three million students and regularly speaks at events around the world. He has a master’s degree in Leadership and Christian Thought from Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He and his wife, Tiffany, live in Minneapolis with their two children. Visit pulsemovement.com for more information.
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