Reaching the Next Generation

This is a generation starving for community.

When it comes to the next generation, I’m sure of two things:

1) We aren’t too effective today at reaching (or keeping) the next generation.

2) The Gospel still works powerfully in any generation.

How do we share Christ effectively to a generation not impressed by the Church today? Here are five ideas.

1. Give them unchanging truth, differently.

The Gospel doesn’t change, but how we apply the Gospel to our changing culture is vital. In Acts 2, Peter proclaimed the Gospel, quoting the Old Testament as he proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. But in Acts 17, Paul stood before pagan philosophers, citing a hymn to Zeus and starting with creation. Why the difference? Peter spoke to devout Jews, while Paul preached to Gentiles.

The next generation we seek to reach lives in a world like Athens, not Jerusalem. The grand narrative of Creation, Fall, Rescue, and Restoration offers the epic story of how Jesus’ work on the cross does more than get us out of hell; the biblical story centered in Christ affects every aspect of life.

In my own witness I’ve seen more unchurched young adults come to faith through sharing the great Gospel story than I’ve ever seen using a scaled-down, propositional outline.

2. Focus less on behavior and more on wonder.

I met a young lady in her 20s who represents many in her generation. She grew up attending church. In college, she reflected on her years in youth group. “I remember two things,” she told me. “Don’t have sex, and invite a friend.” Behavior modification has marked much of the focus of ministry to the next generation.

Let me remind you that the Bible is not mainly a book of morality but of reality: it reveals to us who God is and what He is doing …

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