Passing the Baton to the Next Generation
By Rev. John B. Sorensen
Christianity has always been just one generation from extinction. Think about it. All it takes is for one generation to drop the ball for the next generation to miss the opportunity to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. They cannot pass along what they do not have. It can happen in just one generation.
In Judges 2:10, an entire generation grew up not knowing the Lord and what He had done for the nation of Israel because the previous generation did not pass it along. And it could happen again. According to Barna Research, 61% of young adults (ages 20-30), who have been churched at one point in their teen years, are now spiritually disengaged. They are not actively attending church, reading their Bible, or praying. That’s six out of every ten young adults!
Thankfully today, some of those young people eventually return to the church as adults, but we are still losing a percentage who never return. That number grows larger every year. If we, as Christ’s followers, aren’t able or willing to pass the baton to the next generation, it will cease to exist.
So what do we do? How can we engage our youth with the Gospel in a way that’s real and personal? One way I believe we can do this is by giving our children and young adults a strong foundation in the Gospel.
Proverbs 22:6 advises us to train our children in the faith. But this doesn’t mean simply send our children to Sunday School and hope for the best. Training includes making the Gospel clear to children in a way they can understand and helping them grow deeper in their faith.
Secondly, we must believe that children are not just the church of tomorrow; they are the church of today. Children have the potential for a lifetime of work in God’s Kingdom. Why not allow them to be an integral part of building that Kingdom right now by helping them share the most exciting gift they have: their faith?
We have seen this happen over and over again through our Hope for Kids ministry at EE. When adults from multiple generations come alongside children and model the Gospel for them, they help them understand who God is and see their need for a Savior. So often, children are so excited about Jesus that they bring their friends and family to know Him too.
As children see others come to Jesus, their faith grows even stronger. They never forget the life-changing power of the Gospel when it is shared. The Good News of Jesus is rooted in their lives, and they are less likely to walk away during their teen and young adult years. The baton will continue to be passed from generation to generation.
Rev. John B. Sorensen, D.D. is the President/CEO of Evangelism Explosion International, headquartered in Arden, N.C. EE has been a leader in equipping Christians to share their faith for more than 50 years. For more free tips and resources, visit evangelismexplosion.org, or follow John on Twitter, @jbsoresen. Read more good news from John Sorensen HERE