When my daughter, Natasha, was in college, she made a project that featured angels. When she told the professor that she believed in angels and the Bible, her professor began going after her, saying those were fantasies and fables.
Even though most of the students in that class were not believers, they immediately began to defend her. They questioned the professor, saying, “What gives you the right to attack her belief system? She’s allowed to believe what she believes.”
That story has stuck with me, as it gave me, and continues to give me, hope for the next generation. Younger millennials and Gen Z don’t seem to have the dichotomy that has existed in our Christian culture for hundreds of years – the pendulum swing between “do we preach the gospel or do we do the gospel?” The younger generation seems to respond with, “Yes. We do and preach the Gospel.” Their desire for authenticity overrides their desire to keep quiet.
What does that mean for the Church? For evangelizing the youth in your own communities?
Good evangelism is holistic.
It is people who are integrated and involved in creating a new heaven and a new earth. It is community-based, transformational movements that are meeting the holistic needs of the youth in this world. It is about being the Church in the most authentic way. A church that has a heart for its people and loves its people well. A church that is meeting needs and preaching the Gospel. It means pastors who are proclaiming Jesus all the time because any act of kindness they do is born out of their authentic relationship with Christ.
At OneHope, we know that the only way to really reach children within any given community is through the local church. That is why we embed evangelistic programs in healthy church communities that are meeting the needs of people in every level of society and sphere of life.
According to our Global Youth Culture research, 41% of teenagers around the world say that they would be open to attending a Christian church service if someone invited them. I believe the reason so many say yes is because their generation feels empowered to decide what they believe, they empower others to be authentic in their individual beliefs, and they are willing to have experiences that open them to new ideas. That’s why those students backed my daughter, and not the professor, for believing in angels, and that’s why the Church should be optimistic for the next generation of Christians.