I’ll never forget when a seven-year-old asked me, “Pastor Daniel, if God is so big, why can’t I see Him?” The question revealed so much and really speaks to the importance of developing the next generation’s faith. There is curiosity, wonder, and a longing to understand and know within this question. How we help answer these questions, and many more like it, tells kids, students, moms, and dads they have incredible value to the Kingdom of God.
For nearly a decade and a half, I have spent time, energy, and resources championing the next generation of Jesus followers. Today, I’m more convinced than ever these efforts are not only worth it but also so incredibly crucial. We live in a world full of disarray. What used to be simple is now complex. And, what is complex is now challenging and confusing. Yet, there is hope. One thing will always stay true with each passing generation: God is building His Kingdom. And, He is using the next generation of believers to do it. Therefore, those of us called to impact the faith of today and tomorrow’s leaders must stay the course for at least a few reasons.
The next generation is being raised in ever-changing times. The world we live in today is not like the world a decade ago or even a year ago. Ever since the pandemic reared its ugly head, things have rapidly changed. Kids and teenagers are spending even more time on their phones—and it’s primarily unmonitored time. There is a rise in anxiety and depression. “New definitions” for standard terms are crashing in like a tidal wave. What an eighth-grade student used to be exposed to now a fifth-grade student is being exposed to. In these ever-changing times, the Gospel of Jesus Christ stands tall and unchanged. This is why no matter what the world throws at us, parents and ministry leaders alike must be willing and ready to stand on and teach the truths of the Gospel for these tender hearts.
The next generation needs to make an impact. I’ve seen so many times where kids and teenagers have reached their circle of influence with the hope of the Gospel. This is why I used the word champion in my introduction. We must champion these efforts with great resiliency. Today’s impacts will significantly determine what tomorrow looks like. Kids and teenagers’ friends will first come to them with matters about faith and life. Our job as leaders and influencers is to help them develop a Christian worldview that is not shaken like a house built on sand. Why? Because the storms are already here. Yet, a house can withstand the storm when built on the proper foundation. Sure, the house will get a few bumps and cracks, but it will stand. Kids and students readied with Gospel truths can and need to make a significant impact on the Kingdom.
The next generation has great potential. The next generation will shape what the coming days, weeks, months, and years look like. Their creativity, imagination, and ideas are off-charts good. We must lean into these skillsets, so the next lawyers, doctors, teachers, coaches, and missionaries see their potential for great Kingdom impact. When potential is developed, it affects that individual and those around them. Sometimes potential is center-stage with a microphone in hand, and sometimes they are in the corner drawing in a notebook waiting for someone to come alongside them to affirm and encourage. When I drive home after church on Wednesday nights, my heart is full. It’s full because I see God moving and potential for impact today and tomorrow in the next generation. It’s what wakes me up and keeps me going.
How are you impacting the next generation of Jesus followers? It matters right now.