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The Next Generation Matters

Matt Densky - 8/6/2023


God’s invitation to the next generation is not positional, but personal. In other words, it is not just parents, grandparents, teachers, or youth and children's pastors that should be burdened for the next generation, but all of those who follow Jesus and are a part of the church family.


Why should the next generation matter to all followers of Jesus?

  • God is known for it. In the Old Testament God is often titled as a multi-generational God - the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Our God is a God who cares about multiple generations and is often at work in one to impact the next.
  • The Bible prioritizes it. Joshua 4:6-8, Psalm 78:5-7, Psalm 102:18, Psalm 145:4, and Isaiah 59:21 are just a few of the many places that put an emphasis and expectation on the idea that we would prioritize cultivating a culture that passes on our faith.
  • Jesus models it. Jesus esteems children and raises their value in unprecedented ways, even using them as a model of what faith should look like. Furthermore, Jesus invites the twelve (who were likely teenagers) into an apprenticeship under him that would later lead to the birth of the church.

Observation—The next generation is a fraction of today’s population, but 100 percent of the future. If the numbers are telling us anything it is that right now we are managing decline. Our current approaches to discipling the next generation are not working. For those who follow Jesus, the future of the Church should be a concern of great weight. 

Scripture: Mark 6:30-52

This passage is best known for the two gigantic miracles within, but if you peel back the layers there’s actually something deeper going on. Notably, there is a strategy and thought to Jesus’ methods of developing his Kingdom leaders. Below are five applications from the text of how to move toward the next generation with strategy and hope.

  1. Empower the next generation to lead. (v. 30)
    • The passage begins with, “The apostles returned to Jesus.” Where did they return from? Jesus has just commissioned them to go out and do ministry without him for the first time. Imagine that! God in the flesh entrusting to teenagers (who were very confused many times) the responsibility of ministering to peoples’ bodies and souls.
    • Many of today’s youth are leaving the faith, not because they don’t know what they believe, but because they have no idea why they believe it. Their faith has never been activated. We must empower the next generation with real roles of leadership (and yes, just like the disciples, they will be confused along the way, but that’s how they learn!)
  2. Develop compassion before criticism (v. 34)
    • The word compassion used in the New Testament is used almost exclusively to describe Jesus and his posture towards people. As people who follow Jesus, it must be something we cultivate as well. Let us not criticize where we haven’t tried to empathize.
  3. Invite proximity (v. 36-44)
    • Many youth today may believe in the same God as their parents, but they may not have learned much more than information. We must be a generation that doesn’t just tell the next generation what to believe but shows them how to live out that belief in day-to-day practicality. This can only be achieved through proximity. Invite them into your life—even the seemingly mundane!
  4. Pray (v. 46)
    • In order to achieve a supernatural outcome within a generation we must invite and partner with a supernatural power. Let us come before God often on behalf of the next generation, interceding on behalf of their needs, and believing that great things can come.
    • One of the bravest prayers might be that God would bring you someone to disciple.
  5. Rescue and restore. (v. 50-52)
    • Failures will happen. The next generation needs leaders who will empower them to lead, rescue them when they fail, but restore them with grace. Let us see their potential even in the midst of the teachable moments.

*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.