Category Archives: Generations

Five Things Every Adult Christian Should Know About Youth Ministry

It is God’s design that His Gospel, the Good News of salvation for all who believe in Christ, should be passed down throughout history by each generation reaching and teaching the next. This was clearly spelt out in Deut. 6:6-12, repeated in Deut. 32:45-47 and in Joshua 24. Yet, one of the saddest verses in Scripture is the indictment in Judges 2:10, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel” (NIV). The indictment is not against the wayward youth, but actually against the older generation who failed to correctly nurture them. It appears as if this indictment may be repeated in our own day. Today, the church is on the brink of a major crisis as many young people are rejecting it as irrelevant, boring and superficial.

The church is always only one generation away from extinction. If Satan can win the soul of just one generation, then he wins the souls of all that follow. The role of youth ministry in a local church is therefore one of the most vital aspects of that church’s existence, and certainly the key to its continued survival. With this in mind, there are a number of critical areas in which churches appear to be failing the generation of young people at the beginning of a new millennium. These can be characterised by five serious misconceptions regarding the role of youth ministry in the local church:

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Generations @ Church

Originally posted on 19 February 2005

Based on a chapter in my 2004 book, ‘Mind the Gap’, here are some insights into the generation gap in church.

The era in which you were born shaped your value system more than you probably realise. Your value system is that part of you which helps you decide what is right or wrong, good or bad, normal or weird. Your value system is largely cemented in place by the time you turn ten years old, and the events and forces that shape you in those first ten years are critical in shaping your value system.

Over the past century, global events have become more and more influential on people across the planet. With increased communication, telephones, television and now the Internet, its possible for single events to influence billions of people at the same time. ‘Where were you when” type questions become increasingly familiar. Where were you when the planes crashed into the twin towers on 9/11? When Mandela was released in 1990? When the Berlin wall came down in 1989? When Neil Armstrong stood on the moon, or when JFK was shot?

Global events like these can shape the value systems of all the young people of a particular era. That means that people about your age may have a similar worldview to you. And you probably differ dramatically in outlook to those people older and younger than yourself.

Generations @ Church
There are few areas in our lives where the generation gap is greater than it is in the church. The church throughout the world is in crisis as an increasingly greying clergy is not attracting youthful priests and pastors. Youngsters don’t relate to people a generation or two older than them as role models, and the older generations boycott ‘youth services’. And so we see a vicious cycle of falling figures, both in church attendance and people prepared to don clerical robes.

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Evangelising the generations

Originally posted in 2002, and then updated in July 2009

It has been a tremendous privilege over many years to be able to (almost) seamlessly blend my ministry and work aspirations. This is something many people spend their whole lives striving for – to integrate what they do for a living with the passion in their hearts. I fell into this very young, and have been privileged to continue to do so.

Specifically, the work I do on different generations, and seeing the world through other people’s eyes (see has application in many different areas – from schools and churches, to marketing and HR departments of large corporates, and even government institutions, too.

A few things have happened recently to remind me of work I did a number of years ago on evangelising the next generation. I wrote a chapter on “Generations at church” in my 2004 book, “Mind the Gap”. Now, EE3, the global evangelism movement, will be providing my book to its members. I have also been in contact with the organisers of the upcoming Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation, to be held in Cape Town 2010.

So, previously unpublished on this blog, is an article I wrote in 2000 for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association magazine.

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