This is an excerpt from the Arkansas Baptist Evangelism Conference where I shared a few thoughts on reaching the next generation.
On of the most magnificent proclamations in the history of the world:
Matthew 1:23 See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son,
and they will name him Immanuel, which is translated “God is with us.”
God putting on flesh and walking among us! What did this communicate? It communicated just how depraved mankind really is and how much we needed a savior! And in doing so He also displayed an unconceivable amount of grace and love toward his creation! The creator of the world befriended us! And His friendship is shown by allowing us to be apart of His redemptive plan.
John 15:15 I do not call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father.
Christ’s desire in this text is that His disciples would have joy. And that joy is caught up in their obedience to the things he has revealed to them. And we can clearly see all that Jesus taught His disciples was a preparation for His going and their being sent.
Sent to do what? Make Disciples.
Matthew 28:19-20 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Every church, every Christian has a command to reach EVERY generation!
But not every church or every Christian is committed to reaching every generation! We must change that! Specifically we must change our attitudes toward reaching the next generation.
You know the same is true in a home as it is in a church:
Biblical homes cultivate multi generational faithfulness
Biblical churches cultivate multi generational faithfulness
Here are three very practical ideas to consider as you seek to reach the next generation:
- Learn the next Generation
It easy to make excuses for not reaching the next generation.
- Church is too small,
- Church is too old,
- Music is too old school
The list could go on and on. If GABC can do it any church can. The truth is we are not the “coolest” church in town! There are a lot of churches in our town that have skinnier jeans than us! But you know what we are learning: The Next Gen is drawn toward passion over a perfect well put together modern church. Meaning vision draws them! But not just any vision a vision that is saturated with mission of God!
2. Like the Next Generation
I was recently in a meeting with pastors from all over and the topic of conversation was reaching the next generation. That conversation was a little disheartening to say the least. Our time together consisted of jokes about the younger generations and how churches in their town were “stealing all our young people with gimmicks and fun”. Of course there is room for discussion on healthy strategies to reach the next generation without compromising the Gospel. But I am convinced that what churches and leaders convey by what they say and what they do is that they don’t like the next generation! This is a problem.
Through jokes stereotypes and a lack of desire change methods churches put to much distance between them and the next gen. And the result is the church dies.
Like the next generation by being willing to learn them and adapt methods to ensure the future of the local church.
3. Launch the next Generation
Churches are really bad at not leveraging this season of life! Not married, No kids, all the time in the world to do ministry. Paul tells Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because of his youth! Churches need to stop looking down on the next generation and start leveraging their youthfulness and availability.
- Give them your time Pastor! You are not too busy to poor into the next generation of local church leaders.
- Give them ministry opportunity. Set up a pathway for future leaders to be discipled toward ministry.
- Give them a passion for the local church! The local church is Gods plan to reach cities! Teach that to the next generation.
- Give them a platform to set an example as to what they are able to do during this season for their lives.
The task ahead of us is not an easy one. We must act and if we cross our fingers and hope they come into our churches without intentional efforts, we will lose the next generation!