POINT 3: Next Gen can’t do it alone.
I read Barna’s description of a biblical worldview. How many of those 18-23 years of age possess a biblical worldview? Less than 1%.
Wait a second. I thought that 30% of all Christ-followers come to faith before the age of 14. Certainly, those would amount to more than 1% of the total 18-23 population. Just because they’re Christ-followers doesn’t mean they have a biblical worldview. Is it possible that the church is graduating into college anemic and under informed Christ-followers? Apparently so.
Eighty-five percent of young adults 23-30 years stopped attending church for at least a year between the ages of 18-22. Why is it that our high school grads are abandoning the church by the boatloads?
Because what we’ve been doing for the past 20 years in children’s and student ministry hasn’t been working.
“But one of the lessons that emerged from the research on which my earlier book was based was that churches alone do not and cannot have much influence on children. In fact, the greatest influence a church may have in affecting children is by impacting their
parents.” –Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna
If we don’t equip the parents to lead their own kids spiritually, we WILL BE UNSUCCESSFUL in equipping the next generation to be Christ-followers who are strong in their faith.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have a crystal clear solution to present. The Next Gen staff is still working on this, something we’re calling the “Parent Path.” However, what we needed the staff to know was that although Next Gen is vital and effective, parents have to take the lead. We have hundreds of leaders who are pouring into adults at Gateway, but most of them are focused primarily on their own spiritual growth…not the spiritual growth of their kids.
I asked the staff to listen closely to one thing. I asked them to pass this one thing on to all of the leaders they oversee. “When looking at the list of people you’re spiritually pouring into, if your own kids aren’t at the top of the list then you’ve totally missed it. You can be responsible for leading hundreds who’ve multiplied spiritually to thousands, but if you’ve lost your own kids, you will live with regrets. What you’ve done won’t matter by comparison.”
I ended with that and allowed the staff to discuss some questions at their tables.
Following this they closed in prayer specifically for the parents at Gateway.
- Here is the handout every staff member had.
- Here’s the same handout with the blanks filled in.
- Here’s my script. I tend to write out my talks rather than outline, so this is essentially everything I said.