Today is an exciting day in the life of our church family as we celebrate the grand opening of our brand new Next Generation Discipleship Center! This building represents our church’s commitment to share God’s love with the next generation of young people. The mission of the church is clear: we are to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). Disciple-making begins here, with the individual families in our church. Our goal is to transform the young people God entrusts to us into extraordinary followers of Jesus Christ.
As we go about making disciples, the Bible assures us that God is sovereignly working behind the scenes to draw people to himself. The Bible is clear that our spiritual blindness is so great that if God did not draw us to himself, no one would ever come to faith in Christ (John 6:44). One of the principle ministries of the Holy Spirit is to convince people of their need for a Savior. The Holy Spirit can do what we cannot. He convinces people of their spiritual need by convicting them of the guilt of their sin and of the reality of God’s coming judgment. And so we have reason to be optimistic about our mission, because, after all, making disciples is God’s idea. It is obvious that God has already blessed us in our disciple-making efforts. Our old youth center was bulging at the seams and was filled well beyond capacity. This is why we have built a new and expanded Next Generation Discipleship Center.
Did you realize that 50,000 unchurched teenagers are living within a 10-mile radius of our church campus? Who will reach them? Who will tell them about a God who loves them, and a Savior who died for them? This Next Generation Discipleship Center is TCC’s response: we are committed to developing effective strategies to reach these young people and their families. All of us here today are part of that strategy. We need to reach out and build redemptive relationships with our unchurched neighbors. We need to get to know them, invite them over for a meal, be there for them when they go through a crisis…let’s not just talk about God’s love, let’s demonstrate it!
As you seek to share God’s love with your unchurched friends and neighbors, remember that because we have been created in God’s image, there is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man, woman, and child. We try to fill that vacuum with things that only leave us feeling more frustrated, depressed, and empty. This ongoing sense of emptiness provides fertile soil for spiritual conversations to take place. People are generally more open to spiritual things than many of us realize, but we must reach out to them.
One method for reaching out to your neighbors is to keep your eyes open for a “felt need,” which is an opportunity to come alongside that person to help and encourage him. Next, look for appropriate opportunities to share your own spiritual story. No can argue against what God has done in your life, and about the difference He has made in your marriage, work, and relationships with others. You can then share the important role your church plays in reinforcing the spiritual and moral values you embrace. At some point, you will probably have an opportunity to ask her about her faith journey and listen attentively. Once you have done that, an invitation to join you at church one Sunday seems entirely natural and appropriate. We simply want other people to come to know the God who has so enriched our own lives. Good News needs to be shared!
If we are going to reach the next generation for Christ, this is how it is going to happen. If you invite them, they will come, and they will bring their children, including their teens. And in our Center, we have the perfect place for them to make their own as they hang out, grow in their faith, and have fun while they do it. Our goal is that our young people cultivate a strong, vibrant faith of their own that is no longer just their parents’ faith; rather, they make it their own. When it comes to our children’s walk, there are no guarantees, but we can greatly increase the odds that our children will continue to walk with the Lord when parents and church work together to faithfully teach and model Biblical truth.
Application / Challenge
Determine to do your part in reaching the next generation for Christ by…