How do we reach the next generation with the hope of Jesus? I attended a workshop recently that tried to answer this question. The workshop leaders were “experts” in the field. They spoke of the books that had been written and the book that they were going to write. They had charts, demographics, statistics, headlines, polls, quotes, etc. The next generation is tech savvy, on its mobile devices, unchurched, saturated in culture, etc. At about the second PowerPoint slide, I walked out.
How do we reach the next generation? Simple. Let me give you two easy steps (the order of these steps is reversible):
- Tell them about Jesus.
- Love them.
Why do we make it so difficult? Why do we bemoan the odds we’re up against, as if we’re fighting a losing battle? We’re not.
We don’t need fancier buildings, hipper websites, trendier clothes, more social media, increased efforts with social justice issues, un-churchy language, cooler logos, more pixels, more video, shorter sermons, and so forth. Shame on us if we think we do—what an insult to the next generation—as if they are that shallow!
Just care about them and tell them about Jesus (his life, death, and resurrection).
Shame on us if we think that God’s word about Jesus is on par with all of our other strategies. The gospel is the living word of God, which is more powerful than any tool or resource we could leverage. In other words, when we tell people the truth about Jesus, we are handling an atomic bomb. It is powerful enough to change the human heart. Our media and pixels cannot do that.
If you wanted to convince me of the benefits of quilting blankets, what would you do? You would show me some blankets and teach me to quilt. If you wanted me to become a basketball player, what would you do? You would show me basketball and teach me to play. If you wanted me to love your favorite movie, what would you do? You would show me the movie. Get the idea? If we want the next generation to know Jesus, then we have to teach them about Jesus. We don’t need anything else. We only need the word of God. That’s the “strategy.”
The Good News of Jesus is sufficient for reaching the next generation. Let’s stop making it more complicated than that.
Or do we think that there’s better news than the Good News?
Let me save you some time and money. You don’t need to buy any books about evangelizing the next generation. You don’t need to attend any seminars. You have what it takes. In fact, you ARE what it takes. Use your mouth and your heart to speak about Jesus and to love.