I think it is a reoccurring issue for the church. How do we reach each new generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? When I was about 12, I went with my Dad and others on calling night at church. It was Tuesday nights. Brother Kenny our preacher, a large number of the elders, a couple deacons a couple of other men, were at the church a few minutes before we were to leave. They would get into groups of two or three and Brother Kenny would hand each group two or three cards with the names of people that we would visit that night. We would pray together than we got in our cars and spread out all over the city of Kokomo, Indiana.
That was about 1968 or 69 when I started going with the men to call on visitors hoping to share the Gospel. I was in High School from the 1971 to 1975 (which btw is the best years for any music there has ever been). Our youth group was having a rally with CIY (www.ciycom). We had two high schools in town and 5 or 6 others in the county. We had a student phone book for my high school. We called each person in the book, almost 2000 students at Haworth High School as well as the 1700 students at Kokomo High School, and as many as we were able to get numbers for from the other county schools.
We at least invited each student that year (’74 or ’75, not sure) to the CIY rally and asked if we could come visit with them about Jesus. We had about 2 dozen invite us to come to their homes and visit with them. Hardly anyone else came to the rally. We were disappointed about that.
Being able to visit with 20 or so kids out of the 3 or 4000 we called may not have been a bad statistic in the early 70’s, but was it really effective? That’s my generation we’re talking about. A portion of the Baby Boomers.
I know people whose ability to evangelize is about like someone who has the ability to lead a dead horse to water. I admire them and thank God for those who are led to Christ through their witness. God hasn’t worked through me like that, ever. I have baptized a lot of people, from kids that grew up in church and accepted Christ when they were young like I did. I was 9 1/2 when I became a baptized disciple of Jesus Christ. To, an 80-something year old woman who had simply never been invited to accept Jesus and be baptized and be saved. She didn’t know what she needed to do. I have participated in planting the seed, in cultivating the soil no matter who planted the seed, in watering the seed, and seen and participated in their baptism for salvation.
In the next installment I want to offer my observations (unfortunately, I have not had the privilege of working with too many 18-30 year old people with the opportunity of leading them to Christ) about what I am learning about reaching you and your generation.
Before we conclude this blogging today, let me offer three things that should be obvious and are essential in reaching every generation.
1. Be a Christian of integrity. Be 100% faithful to God. To put it bluntly from a negative perspective. Do not be a hypocrite. People will see right through you , they will see something different from that which we claim to be, what God has called us to be, and we are supposed to be. Hypocrites run the unchurched and even some Christians away from Church.
2. Preach the Gospel. Share Jesus. Preach Jesus. Show Jesus. Be Jesus to them.
3. Invite them. You may need or want to invite them to church if that is how they will learn about Jesus and see faithful believers living for Jesus and loving people the way we should. But they need to be invited to accept Jesus.
Be faithful. Preach Jesus. Invite them. Those are the critical essentials that must always be. Next time, let’s see where this goes.