In the last month or so, I’ve had a chance to speak to a few different groups of Christian teens, from Christian school kids, to home-schooled kids, to groups of youth group/public schooled Christian kids. I have to say that while the settings were vastly different, there is a theme that emerged for me that I must write about.
The next generation will be fine.
I know that runs counter to the scary stuff Barna continually churns out about how the next generation is going to fall into the sea spiritually, because we haven’t trained them right. I know my experience is of a very small sample size, its anecdotale, etc.
And yet I wonder if we evangelicals just like to worry. We worry that we’re not teaching our kids enough of the Bible. We worry that culture will grab them by the soul and keep them from God. We worry that they won’t have the intestinal fortitude to step up and defend Christianity.
I know we worry, because I worry. I’m a pastor. I’m a father of three. I’m an observer of the church and of culture.
But I wonder if some of our worry is a bit of old-fashioned pride. Are we becoming like our parents, who probably sat around saying, “This generation . . .”?
Every group of Christian teens I’ve been with has surprised me by their passion for God–a passion that was far more real and heartfelt than I have felt from similar groups of Christian adults. They surprised me with their knowledge of the Bible. They surprised me with their desire to serve humbly, to learn, to take notes of older generations.
I was deeply encouraged. It reminded me of God’s faithfulness. The truth is that God raises up leaders in every generation. God is building the church in every generation until He comes back. And kingdom-building isn’t dependent on our skill, our particular poll-tested methods. It’s dependent on God, who through the Spirit is working in the hearts of His people.
So, parents, pastors, youth pastors, influencers–work hard at passing on your faith, don’t assume your kids will know God by osmosis. Be concerned. But, in the end, know that while we are parenting, discipling, training our kids, so is God. And from what I have seen, God is doing a grand job.
I’m hopeful about the next generation. I believe in them.