How Can We Reach the Next Generation?

“He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.” (Ps 78:5–8)

I have been reading through the Psalms as part of a program to read through them all 150 in a month. In this morning’s reading, I came across the above passage. In it, we are told that generational ministry is important. Whatever else we are doing, we need to see the importance of reaching the next generation for Christ.

How do we do it?

(1) It begins at home

If you want to reach the next generation and you have kids, you need to start pouring God’s Word into them. Start early and young. Get in a routine of reading the Bible with your children, even if it is a paraphrased version. A favorite at our house is the Jesus Storybook Bible. It is a great beginner Bible because it introduces them to the storyline of Scripture in a non-moralistic way.

You can also start memorizing Scripture with your kids. This is something I have started doing lately with my oldest. His mind is a sponge at this age, which means it is a good time for him to start hiding God’s Word in there. I am using the Fighter Verses App, and we are working through the Foundation verses for kids.

(2) It continues in the community

If we want to reach the next generation, we have to make ourselves available to them. As well as we need to seek to build relationships with them. We need to show interest in the things in which they are interested. Be an encouragement to them. Let them know we are a resource to them.

(3) It continues on into the church

If we want to reach the next generation, we have to recognize that the things that reached our generation are probably not the same things that are going to reach the generation or two or three after us. Their preferences are different. How they interact with the world is different. What they expect and want out of the church may even be different. We need to be willing to remove any obstacles to them coming into the church. As well as we need to look for ways to serve them.

But, and this is huge, we need to remove obstacles and serve the next generation do in any way we can without diminishing the gospel, and the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. The gospel changes everything, we need to make sure it is central. Life change happens as the Word of God is driven into our hearts by the Work of the Holy Spirit. Watering down its message, changing it, or diminishing the centrality of God’s Word in any way our ministries will not result in us truly reaching the next generation.

The Psalmist tells us it is the truths of God’s Word that we are to teach our children to set their hope on, not fun and games, musical preferences, TedTalks, community service, etc. It is God’s Word that produces fruitful people who are ever seeking to glorify God with their lives, so we must keep God’s Word central, while at the same time removing any preferential obstacles in the church.

Question for Reflection

  1. How else can we reach the next generation?

Are You A True Disciple-Maker?

Every month I receive a new issue of Table Talk Magazine. It is a devotional magazine without the fluff. The articles and daily devotions not only have theological depth and clear teaching on Scripture, but they are also relevant, challenging, and informative. I would encourage you to get a subscription (and no, I am not getting paid to say that.)

This morning, while reading the Church and Discipleship in the September issue, I came across these challenging thoughts.

The Great Commission calls us to make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). All power on heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus, who gives power and a call to us. Making disciples means that we embrace this call by accompanying people along their way. Some churches call this “doing life together.”

But true discipleship is not just about hanging out. True discipleship is about embracing gospel truths in the context of a biblical community that results in life change. It’s about visibly seeing sanctification in the life of a new believer. It’s about progressively becoming more aware of our sinfulness and of God’s holiness. It’s about the cross looming larger and larger in our lives as we embrace gospel truths. Gospel-centered churches understand this. The true measure of a church’s success is not its size but whether it is making disciples.

We have a vast problem in our churches, not only in American churches but in churches around the world. We have many “conversions” but few disciples. We have many “conversions” but few who embrace the Lordship of Christ…

True disciple-makers are not just interested in developing leaders…they are interested in seeing the cross loom large in the life of a new believer. They are passionate about sanctification. They are passionate about teaching gospel truths. And the result of this kind of biblical discipleship is amazing – people and churches whose testimony truly reflects God’s character, bringing much glory to Jesus.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Are you a true disciple-maker?
  2. Does your desire match that mentioned in the article?

Resources

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Table Talk MagazineThe Church and Discipleship, 23.

Proper Christian Growth

It is all too easy for us to think that once we know the basics of the gospel we must then move beyond them for true spiritual growth. Yet it is not extra-biblical revelations and methods that mature us, nor is it the search for esoteric meanings and codes in Scripture. Instead, it is the continual attempt to plumb the depths of the gospel message and its application to all of life, which is, in fact, the story of the Bible.

Question for Reflection

  1. How do you pursue Christian growth

Resources

Table Talk Magazine, Proper Christian Growth, January 6 2011.

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