If you were at the leadership workshop in March, or at the AGM in April, you heard a determined message from leadership to focus on reaching the next generation for Christ. We talked about how the church should never tell the younger generation that they are the "future" of the church when they are here in the present. We should not communicate to them that they must wait for a few more years until they get to really belong to this church family. Instead, we must communicate to them that they are a valuable part of God's family today, and that we love being in community with them and seeing them grow in Jesus.
Sadly, youth is often viewed as a disadvantage in Christian life as evident in the fact that Paul feels it is necessary for him to remind Timothy that people should not despise him for his youth (1 Timothy 4:12). The disciples made such mistakes as well; they didn't understand the value of the next generation. Jesus teaches his disciples to value children and to not hinder them from coming to Him (Mark 10:13-16). In fact, Jesus is indignant that the disciples are acting as a hindrance to children coming to Him when they should be pursuing them for Jesus! The disciples had it all wrong, and Jesus corrected them.
The bible consistently teaches that we ought to treasure our next generation and pursue them with the love of Jesus. Apostle Paul valued Eunice (mother) and Lois' (grandmother) investment of faith in Timothy as they poured God's truth into him. Moreover, when Jonathan made his covenant with David, he asked David to have mercy on his descendants—Jonathan was concerned for the well-being of the next generation (1 Samuel 20:15; 20:42). So, we must ask ourselves, "Are we concerned for the eternal well-being of our next generation?" Are we concerned that, statistically, the next generation is more rapidly walking away from the Lord than ever? Are we concerned that our children and grandchildren are living in a post-Christian culture without being properly equipped to walk in the truth? If we aren't concerned for the next generation—if we're not doing everything we can to reach them—we are neglecting God's command to make disciples. If the gospel legacy of South Delta Baptist Church ends with our generation, that means we failed in our mission to go and make disciples.
As the original missionary, God left heaven's throne to carry a cross; that was the extent of His pursuit of us. Imagine the great distance from heaven's glory to the shameful cross. That's the distance Christ covered because He loved us that much. How far are we willing to go to pursue our children with the gospel? How much are we willing to sacrifice so that the next generation hears and knows the gospel of Jesus? My prayer and desire is that our answer would be this: EVERYTHING.
Lord, take all of our preferences, all of our comfort, and all of our fears. We lay them down before Your throne. In their place, give us a passionate heart that burns with a desire to pursue the next generation with Your perfect love. Send us as Your missionaries to the next generation, and be with us as we pursue them.