Remember when you used to be cool, or at least know what cool was? Skinny Jeans weren't cool when I was in school so at 32 I am beginning to feel like I don't know what the next generation thinks is cool anymore. Being in College ministry, it is often easy to feel a bit clueless about the next generation but these 5 keys will give you rails to run on when trying to reach them for Christ.
So why reach this generation in the 1st place? First, God told you to, remember Mt.28:18-20. Second, no generation in history has had the potential this one does. Transportation, globalization, communication, technology, the internet and social networks have all created our first real opportunity in history to actually fulfill the Great Commission. Third, This is why you are here. Acts 17:26-27 says, “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” The harvest is so ripe guys! Remember Mt.9:36-38, the problem isn't with the harvest but rather with the lack of harvesters. It is time we begin working to reach the next generation for Jesus.
As you begin strategizing how to reach young people for Christ, get to know know who you're trying to reach! We've consolidated a lot of Barna's research about the 7 emerging trends in this coming generation into the following paraphrased statement: They embrace change and shun tradition. They emphasize feelings over information and logic. They pursue relevance not excellence. They are more technological and less hard working. They prioritize relationships over performance. They are searching for reality and rejecting facades. And, they yearn for meaning more than the American dream (The 6Cs described by some old Campus Crusade staff - cash, cars, careers, condos, cuties and computers).
Finally, to reach them follow these 5 keys, the 5 Rs: be 1) Real, 2) Relevant, 3) Relational, 4) Revolutionary and 5) give them a Role in the process. This generation is searching for leaders that will be real, authentic and vulnerable. This generation expects our presentation to be relevant (but don't compromise the truth). This generation desires ministry context to be relational. This generation wants actions and application to be revolutionary. And, this generation yearns to have a role in it all.
For the specifics on reaching this next generation for Christ, check out these notes and listen to the MP3 below (shared originally at Celebration Church on Nov. 21st, 2010)!