It’s the beginning of a New Year with all of the possibilities and potential that comes with a clean slate. What will 2019 be like? What will be accomplished for the work of the church? How will God be glorified and people restored in our midst? There is so much that can be done, and as we begin this new year I wanted to take a moment to put one possibility before you.
We are getting ready to begin a study in our small groups around a book by Dr. Steve Parr and Dr. Tom Crites entitled Why They Stay: Helping Parents and Church Leaders Make Investments That Keep Children and Teens Connected to the Church for a Lifetime. It’s a big title, I know, but the subject is of immense importance as we think about the future of this church, and the future of the Church as a whole. How can we contribute to the command of God to invest in the next generation of His people? How can we make sure that we are doing everything we can to keep our sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, connected to the church, rooted firmly in their faith, and persevering in their commitment to God in Christ?
These are questions we will be asking, and answering, as we go through this study. As a youth minister, one of the questions that is often raised by those I talk to is, “Why are so many young people leaving the church?” The answers are more numerous than we can list. But the question, “Why do others stay?” becomes the more relevant one for us. There are certain factors grounded in Scripture that contribute to a healthy and sticky faith in young people, and we need to work to cultivate those factors.
This book will help us to consider these factors, and to focus our attention on the next generation. Healthy churches cultivate an atmosphere of welcome and discipleship for younger folks and require the effort and investment of all generations, especially those wiser and more experienced, to accomplish this task.
This is not just the work of the few called to “full-time youth work.” It’s the call of the entire body of Christ. That includes you. So, as we prepare to study this most important subject, won’t you commit to joining us, and so commit to serving and loving the next generation? I hope you will.
Soli Deo Gloria!