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Reaching the Next Generation

By Will Graham

It’s commonly said that Christianity is always one generation from extinction. Though that may seem alarmist and almost impossible, there is a level of truth to it. God has always been faithful to raise up new leaders of the faith and new generations of young people on fire for Him. As the current generation of Christian leaders, however, we need to uphold our role by making an intentional, concerted effort to reach the next generation and disciple them in the faith.

It is incredibly important to engage with young people today in a way that encourages a real, authentic and life-changing relationship with Christ. It’s possibly more important than ever! Recent Barna studies have indicated that 55 percent of Mosaics (those currently ages 18-¬29; also known as Millennials) will drop out of church after attending regularly as teens. Only 16 percent of young people in that age group acknowledge seeing how the Bible applies to their “field or professional interests”.

What’s the answer to these problems? It’s more than simply dragging your child by the ear to church until they’re old enough to run the other way. It begins first with living the life you want your child to live. It does no good for you to spout Christian sayings while sporting a “do as I say, not as I do” lifestyle. If your walk is authentic and directs your path, your child will see that and may be more inclined to follow in your faith.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (NIV). Parents, I would encourage you to take this to heart and invite Jesus into your life and home. Make sure your faith in Him is more than lip service; allow Him to direct what you see, hear, discuss, and pray as you go through your day. Love your child with the grace-filled love of Christ.
Church leaders, do the same. Don’t just relegate the young people to that room at the end of the hall with the beanbags and sofas. Engage them, encourage them, pray for them, and help them as they navigate a pressure-filled world that may be hostile to their faith.

Second, disciple the children in your care—both at home and in the church—and encourage them from their early years in learning and growing in the faith. One of my roles as a vice president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) is to offer guidance to our Children’s and Youth Evangelism Training area. We have worked hard to develop age-appropriate materials to help you and your church effectively minister to children and teens. I encourage you to take advantage of these and other materials that are available to help your young people.

Finally, if the children and young people in your life have not yet made a decision for Christ, pray and watch for opportunities to present the Good News of Jesus Christ. As you pray, God will soften their hearts, break down barriers, and open doors for you.

My Hope with Billy Graham, which will culminate with a powerful message from my grandfather in November 2013, is not just for adults, but it’s an opportunity for ALL generations to hear and share the Gospel. Be thinking and praying about young people in your life that you can invite to be a part of this program, so they will have an opportunity to either encounter the true and living God for the first time, or share Him with their friends. Learn more here.

Is Christianity always one generation from extinction? Yes, I suppose it probably is. But, are we – you and I – going to let that happen on our watch? Not a chance! Live a godly life, disciple your child, and reach the young people around you with the Gospel. There’s too much at stake to let this moment slip by!

  • http://twitter.com/Rajin_Him Rajin M

    I have been grown up in a Christian family most of my friends with the similar background do not really go to church, they rather involve in Hindu’s activities and some female friends got married to the person from the other religion. It is just because they do not find interesting going to church.

    I got married with a girl from a Hindu extreme family who accepted Christ on her own. But, now life has become so compact that without link with the people around we cannot move smoothly. The majority of my society is Hindu and Buddhist but I cannot get along with them. Beside these I do not drink or smoke so friends do not get along with me. However, now, we are in the United Kingdom, we expect fellowship and hope someone call us. But, we always try our best which is good but, we have found that the pastor don’t even call us when we are not able to attend church.

    We are grown up age 27 – 30 but, even now when though there is no one or will be no one to guide or even ask us rather when we go to the fellowship they doubt us sometime I feel like forgetting everything and just start a new life without Christ.

    I am strong but such feelings comes in my mind. I don’t know why but it could be because we are young.

    • Peter

      Hi my young brother and sister living for Christ comes with challenges, even Jesus said in this world you will have trials and tribulations but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world. The enemy of our soul will try to make us feel we are failures, I want you to hold on keep reading your bible and pray daily Jesus will see you through, don’t give up, you have come too far to turn back, believe me you will overcome. the feelings you get comes from the enemy. Remember Jesus paid it all for our salvation, please do not give up, please read the book of Ephesians it will help you to overcome your feelings. May God continue to show Himself real to you and your wife, and I pray a blessing on your lives in Jesus’ name Amen