How We Make Disciples of the Next Generation
Knowing about God
Many kids know God.
Or rather they know about God. That is, they are aware of many facts about the deity that they hear of from church-going parents. They hear about God when they get put through my Worship Services and Youth ministry.
However, many kids do not know God for themselves. That is, they don’t have any intimate relationship with him. They know from my lips that that is what they ultimately need. Yet many do not have a personal relationship with the God and Father of our Lord and Savior. As evident in their day to day behavior inside and outside of church, they do not actually “follow” Christ (Matt 4:18-22).
Yet many parents think the 3hours or so a week I spend with them will “make them love God”.
Unregenerate sinners have no place in serving in the church of Jesus Christ. We cannot use “service” or “training for serving” as a means to bring salvation for souls.
Because all that does not give them a right relationship with God; such does not bring about supernatural regeneration. This is only superficial religion when acts of service is done for the goal of bringing about salvation.
Another club or group initialized by parents will not bring about new birth. What this generation needs is not more programs where parents drop off their kids for another “lesson” about God or training in how to serve in church. Teaching ways of sanctification to the spiritual rebels will get us nowhere. It only leads them to legalism. Because they are but sons of disobedience and children of wrath, when they don’t have a new heart. We already had a generation of Pharisees in Jesus day, and look how far that superficial religiosity got them.
What is missing in our churches is a generation of youngsters who are born again.
The Church’s Discipleship
Like I have said again and again, regeneration is the greatest need in today’s church. This is where the discipleship starts. And this will always be the root of gospel-centered discipleship.
And how discipleship happens is through one generation disciplig the younger generation personally, daily. Yes, this means parents who disciple their kids day in and day out, and not simply dropping them off for a professional (or skilled amateur) to care for. Personal discipleship, not professional discipleship.
The church needs a generation of parents who lead their children to love God by way of example, through spending time and more time with them. We need to take time hanging out with them. Doing fun and stupid things with them. To build a trusting relationship with our children. And slowly but surely, be shaping them by the cross, that they may have new heats that burn for the Word of Christ.
It will take time away from the office.
And maybe time away for our own “serving” in church.
But the fruit of such a ministry will be a new generation that is dead to sin and alive to God. This is what we need to pray for and what we need to plan for: a generation of regeneration.