G.I. Generation. Silents. Boomers. Gen X. Millennials. Gen Z… Six living generations exist in America with numerous books and articles analyzing their characteristics.
Knowing how best to reach each group offers many benefits. Sometimes, though, we overcomplicate things so much that we forget the simplicity of the gospel message.
Feel free to adapt your method to fit the situation, but keep these keys in mind for reaching upcoming generations for Christ:
The things children and young adults must understand to come to Christ are the same three things everybody must understand: (1) Our sin separates us from God; (2) Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead; and (3) We must trust Christ alone for salvation.
Recognize that people mature in their spiritual understanding at different speeds. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead. Don’t try to force an issue on someone who isn’t ready.
The Gospel of John was written to tell us how to obtain eternal life (see John 20:31). The apostle repeatedly used the word , which means “trust.” Regardless of age, everyone must understand Christ died for them and rose again and trust in Christ alone to save them.
- “Give your heart to Jesus” or “Invite Jesus into your heart”— In particular, young children tend to think literally (understanding the heart as the physical organ inside their bodies), so this terminology doesn’t always make sense to them.
- “Give your life to God”— This concept may unsettle children because they might wonder, “If I give my life to God, will my life come to an end?”
- “Would you like to pray to receive Christ?”—Young people and adults need to understand that saying a prayer does not save. Trusting Christ saves. Prayer is how we express to God what we are doing.
Focus on what Scripture emphasizes. John 3:16 says, “Whoever believes in Him,” not “Whoever believes in Him .”
Adult Christians in the New Testament misbehaved (see 1 Cor. 6:1–8; 11:17–22). Understand that children and young adults who become Christians do the same. Don’t expect or require perfect behavior. Salvation is by faith alone.
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