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Making Mistakes in Reaching the Next Generation

Looking back, it is sometimes difficult to know which were “mistakes,” which I take as avoidable, and which were learning curves or turning points along the way. Mistakes can be a good thing if they reflect boldness to pioneer and step outside the box. A Biblical model can help prevent “mistakes” and at the same time release radical pioneers.

The following are some “prevention” steps that I see neglected all over the world in relation to the emerging generation:

  • Take time to really focus on and examine Scripture as to the place of the emerging generation when transitioning to small groups; Pastors preach and teach on the early church when referencing adults, yet sermons and teaching on the place of the emerging generation in Scripture are rarely given.
  • Intentionally reestablish a culture of restoring discipleship to parents within churched families.
  • Equip and mobilize adults to disciple their own children before discipling others; thus not allowing them to avoid their responsibility.
  • Never underestimate what God can do through children and young people; there are very clear Biblical references to the huge impact they can have on adults.
  • Beware of continuing an education model – rather than reflecting a Biblical one.
  • Destroy the belief that it is solely a specific calling/ministry/office to reach the next generation. The Biblical model says everyone is responsible.
  • Pastor and senior leadership are leaders for every generation; it is time to take direct responsibility for the emerging generation.
  • Have an outward focus with and for the children and teens to reach a lost generation instead of taking on the responsibility that belongs to parents.
  • Mobilize the children and young people as soul winners and disciple makers; The great commission is for them, too.
  • Make them a priority. The least resources and focus are often given to the emerging generation, despite the fact that “to turn a nation you must take the next generation”.
  • Take seriously “sin” relating to attitudes to the emerging generation; treat it as seriously as any other sin. Read again the very strong words of Jesus in Matthew 18.

In days when the world of this generation is increasingly uncertain, it must surely be time to “learn from our mistakes,” get back to the Word of God, put into practice its priorities and methodology for this generation, and then to focus on ensuring they are not those whose “love will grow cold” (Matthew 24).