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View Evangelism - The Next Generation - 2-09

The Next Generation

Posted: 16 Feb 2009 02:15 AM PST

A lot of people believe the next generation will very difficult to reach with the Gospel. I disagree. From my perspective, the coming generation is positioned to be reached and shaped for Kingdom greatness. Let’s build a foundation for our discussion on reaching the next generation.

Here are a few of my observations of the coming generation:
•  Their world is smaller and their perspective is broader. Because of technology, most have been raised with a global mindset. My best friend lived across the street. Their best friend might live across the ocean.
•  They have a wider definition of “friends”. To me a friend was someone you spent time with and confided in. Today a friend can be someone you may not have ever met before they clicked on your Facebook page and asked to be your friend.
•  They’re more experiential. Most in my generation were into accumulating possessions. Many of the younger generation are into accumulating experiences. I read about other countries in school. Many in this generation have visited the countries I read about.
•  Most have been under-challenged. Many in this generation have been given much yet they’ve been challenged little. They have more potential than most realize.
•  Their world is gray. I was raised believing in absolute truth. Many in the up- coming generation believe truth is relative. “What is true for me may not be true for you.”
•  They’re searching for a cause. This generation is looking for something (anything) worthwhile to live for. When they find a cause, they’ll go to extreme measures to make a difference.
When you put all these differences together, I see a generation ready to know Christ and the power of His resurrection.

Reaching the Next Generation

Posted: 17 Feb 2009 02:21 AM PST

To reach the next generation for Christ, we must be three things:
•  Conversational.
•  Missional.
•  Generational.
Let’s start today with conversational. This generation craves intimacy in relationships. They want to know and be known.

Too many Western Christians are turned off (or intimidated by) the young, tech savvy, tattooed, and pierced young adults.

Some churches preach against these outward appearances. Others are striving full-time to be “cool” and “relevant” believing the right environment, best light show, or hot sermon series will win the young adults to Christ.

Both these strategies miss a key ingredient. This generation wants to talk. Conversation matters. Relationships matter. Intimacy matters.

Here are some rules of conversation:
•  Before they listen to you, they want to know if you’re listening to them. If you’ll get to know them, they will listen to you.
•  If you’re quick to judge, don’t bother trying to connect.
•  It doesn’t matter if you’re cool or relevant. It matters if you bring the real you. Fake is the worst thing you can bring.
•  The fifth conversation might be the difference maker. In my “Christian Witness Training” course at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, we were trained to knock on doors, present the gospel, and ask people to pray the sinners’ prayer. While this might occasionally still work, it isn’t a likely path to life change. This generation builds trust slowly. If you don’t plan on having a third, fourth, or fifth conversation, you might not want to spend a lot of time on the first.
•  They want to be loved. My most consistent conversations with 20-somethings happens in the gym. After getting to know some young men, I genuinely care for them and believe in them. I try to tell them often, “I’m proud of you… I’m pulling for you… I believe in you… I love you.” They seem hungry for acceptance and affirmation and respond well to sincere Christian love.

Missional Ministry

Posted: 18 Feb 2009 02:24 AM PST

If you plan to reach the next generation for Christ, don’t ask them to believe what you believe, instead invite them to do what you do.

Beliefs are a dime a dozen. This generation has seen every variety of spiritual beliefs you could imagine (and many you couldn’t imagine).

They’re extremely turned off by people who don’t live what they claim to believe.

This generation doesn’t want to hear about what you believe. They want to see your beliefs in actions. And if you’re daring enough to live like Jesus, you’ll have a shot at reaching the next generation.
•  If your version of Christianity is limited to what you’re against, you’ll not likely reach many.
•  If, on the other hand, your faith is so alive you must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and love the outcasts—all in the name of Christ, the King, you will attract interest.

As strange as it might sound, if you truly live a missional and Spirit filled life, the young generation might join you and do what you do, then one day believe what you believe.

Generational Ministry

Posted: 19 Feb 2009 02:27 AM PST

I saved this topic for last because I believe it is most important and also the most overlooked.
If you want to reach the next generation, you must believe in them and invest in them.
Many in my generation don’t believe in those coming behind us (much like the generation before me didn’t believe in my wild ideas).
Here are some of my thoughts:
•  Most of this generation had both parents working. They were given lots of things but not lots of time. Deep down, most crave support.
•  In their mostly gray world, they hunger for a someone to point to black and white.
•  Many were materially blessed and didn’t have to “scrap” to make it. No one expected a lot from them. They want to be pushed.
I challenge you to invest in this coming generation. They want to learn from you. (And they can also teach you some things.) See yourself as a Paul and find a Timothy. Even if you are only 23 years old, find an 18 year old and speak life into them.
It is one of the greatest joys in my life to invest in the next generation of pastors and leaders.

Category:Outreach & Evangelism
Category:Training Center Topics & Workshop Resources