There’s this whole moment in Deuteronomy 11 where God says to the Israelites…
“Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the LORD your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; the signs he performed and the things he did in the heart of Egypt, both to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole country; what he did to the Egyptian army, to its horses and chariots, how he overwhelmed them with the waters of the Red Sea as they were pursuing you, and how the LORD brought lasting ruin on them. It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the desert until you arrived at this place, and what he did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab the Reubenite, when the earth opened its mouth right in the middle of all Israel and swallowed them up with their households, their tents and every living thing that belonged to them. But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the LORD has done.”
God goes on to command the Israelites to take seriously the responsibility of handing down his story and his commands to their children. Deut. 11:19-21
That’s pretty much the opposite of what is happening here in North American church culture. On a given Sunday and in the days spent getting there with conversations and strategy it seems that sooner or later our negligence with the next generation is gonna have a very heavy price. It will be too late to shift funds, send help, or have empowering conversations that should have been started years ago.
My fear is that we have been lulled to sleep with what is going on in the spiritual, relational, and emotional wasteland of the next generation. The youth ministry has simply been an amenity to attract travelers into staying instead of being championed as the only and future hope for the church.
As the numbers decline and the interest fades in organized expressions of Christianity it seems as though the worst place to spend money is on convincing the already convinced and lobbing scraps at those we have appointed to love on the next generation with the message of Christ and his forgiveness.
You can’t dismiss this responsibility. To do so is foolish and negligent.