Did you know that Swaziland is predicted to be the first nation to become extinct because of HIV/AIDS? If this kingdom does not take drastic measures to regain their nation’s health, an entire population is at risk of simply disappearing off the planet.
The same prognostication could be true for the future of the kingdom of God in the West as teens in the US appear to be in a sick state of spiritual decline. They seem to be suffering from a general malaise for the things of God and detachment from spiritual rootedness. This apathy toward the things of God is almost as epidemic and life-threatening to our spiritual future as HIV/AIDS is to Swaziland.
What are we doing as Christian leaders to take drastic measures to revive the spiritual health of the next generation and keep the gospel message thriving?
If by the age of 14, young people have made their choices and are set in their ways with an established worldview, then we need to get the Kingdom of God into their heads and hearts during this critical window of time. We need to be intentional about raising up young leaders that will continue to carry the torch after us rather than neglect it and let it be snuffed out.
Here are some ideas for strategically planting spiritually healthy seeds into the next generation:
- Engage them in scripture–it is not our words, but God’s that can challenge young hearts and spark new life and fervor that will set them on a path leading them to affect the destiny of others.
- Take them with you–serve together in your community and take them on missions trips allowing them to see firsthand the impact God’s word can have on lives.
- Invite them into the story--cast the vision for the role they are to play in God’s Big Story, reminding them that God has given each one of us a gift to use for the furtherance of His kingdom.
- Set up programs that allow them to give, whether it’s time stuffing bags of food, talent decorating backpacks with beautiful renditions of God’s love, earning money to support a missional cause or praying regularly for people groups across the globe.
- Don’t deny them the opportunities to use their gifts–my father had the ministry that he did because a pastor shared a pulpit with him at the tender age of seven. Know that our Father has plans that are grander than the scope of our imaginations.
- Share God stories to inspire them–our heritage is rich in stories of God’s Word reaching the unreached and changing lives no matter the impossible circumstances, whether in big cities, far off jungles, and in the best or worst of times. Everyone has a story, and every story is important to God and for us to hear to bolster our own faith.
How are you intentionally instilling a healthy view of missions into the next generation and inviting them to affect destiny in their neighborhood, broader community, city, and world?