As I write these words, I suspect I’m talking to people closer to 60 than 20, and (like me) you long to see young people return to faith.
We are faced with a ‘mission’ that calls us (older ones) to cross the generational divide and inspire the next generation. So, let’s unpack this challenge.
If we are to engage young people (or anyone), our real impact comes from who we are more than what we do. At the end of the day, it’s more about love than programs.
Can ‘love come to life’ in this intergenerational space?
How can I love in ways that build relationship?
This has become quite personal for many of us as our kids and grandkids have drifted away from faith. We are motivated by our love for family to seek God for change.
Does my life inspire younger people?
Part of the generational disconnect occurs around how different generations approach ‘risk’.
Most young people admire those who pay a price for what they believe. They look for a cause or adventure that feels edgy!
A combination of ‘wisdom’ and ‘weariness’ temper this instinct as we age, but let’s not forget what inspired us when we were young.
A loving connection between the generations can foster risk-taking while calling on the wisdom of experience.
This can actually come together if we just function well as Christians.
Contrary to what the modern western church has become, true Christianity is radical. There is much scope for young people to be inspired as we join Jesus in his mission.
Jesus opened his public ministry by quoting these words from Isaiah 61:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.
Jesus spoke of his redemptive work on the cross, but he also took on the cause of the poor and oppressed in society. The church went on to upend the Roman Empire and usher in an entirely new way of living.
If we want young people to be with us, we may need to take up some of the causes and concerns they talk about and not passively watch on from a place of social privilege.
Why not look into the needs of refugees or the tough choices around climate change, for example, and have something to say next time these topics come up at your table?
As you re-enter this territory and start paying the price, you might find common cause with the younger ones watching on and get a whole new lease on life yourself.
Mentoring resource from Grow Ministries
Mentoring is important. At the most basic level, it guarantees that a young person has someone who cares about them. Establishing a mentoring program in your congregation can be challenging and stretching, but we pray it will be a rewarding experience for the people involved. The Grow Ministries mentoring pack provides wonderful support and encouragement as you start your mentoring journey. Click here for your copy, or download a sample here.