I have been serving as a youth pastor for a number of years now, knowing full well this job title does not exist in the Bible. Youth ministry as we know it today is a modern development in the church, but I believe it has a place and is making a difference. For me, this is one of the main ways that I obey Yeshua’s mandate of making disciples and declaring the good news of redemption to the next generation.
“One generation shall praise your works to another.” (Psalm 145:4)
“I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever.”(Psalm 45:17)
Read those verses again. According to these Psalms, every person has a part to play in generational discipleship. When this happens, all the nations will praise God. The problem is that many have wrongly assumed that discipling the next generation requires a special calling, personality and anointing from God. I believe relegating the work of generational mentorship to the few, instead of everyone taking responsibility, is hindering the advancement of the Great Commission.
Playing to Win
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up…” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
The primary responsibility of discipling young people lies in the hands of their parents. And in addition to this, one whole generation is commanded to disciple the next. This calls everyone onto the playing field, not just those serving officially in youth ministry.
According to global statistics, the vast majority of believers come to faith in Yeshua before their twentieth birthday. Therefore, if investing in the emerging generation is the most strategic and effective way to reach the nations, why are children’s and youth ministries not given a higher priority in most churches? Could we be majoring on minors and minoring on majors?
When Yeshua commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), He was not referring only to our peers. The Greek word for ‘nations’ is ethnos, which means every ethnic group. Every ethnic group includes babies, children, youth and so on. Today half of the world’s population is under 30 years old.
Does this mean I don’t care about those older than me? Absolutely not! I have great respect for, share deep relationships with and enjoy partnering with those much older than myself. We all need each other. Without older people investing in me, I would not be able to do what I am doing now.
Each of us will one day stand before the Lord and give an account of how we stewarded our lives on the earth. Our love and investment in the next generation will not be a side issue.
Don’t give in to the lies that say you have nothing to give to the emerging generation; that you are too old, too busy, or you won’t be any good at relating to them. Instead, let’s rise up and fight for the next generation. Let’s not stop praying, investing, discipling and passing on everything that will benefit them, no matter how big or small that may be. Their success is our success!