By some statisticians’ analyses, I just put that very kindly. They would say we have been found sleeping at the wheel and deliberately dosing up on cultural-Ambien in order to avoid the painful reality that we have lost young generations.We are, therefore, faced with a choice. We can get defensive and continue in denial, or we can take stock and respond with biblical, Spirit-led soundness and disciple the generations ahead of us.
During this Multiply Track, recorded live at Foursquare Connection 2014 in Dallas, Ryan Brown, Foursquare’s national NextGen representative, along with Foursquare leaders Chad Garrison and Lesli Klingenmeier, present a compelling vision of integrated, intentional disciple-making that begins in the nursery and goes on throughout the lives of children and students in our local churches.
Although we may previously have viewed NextGen ministries as silos or homes (i.e., safe places to store and protect young believers), the NextGen team advocates for a pipeline, or pathway, model—one that is designed to take people forward in their journey with Jesus, in the local church, by partnership with and participation in the life of the church.
NextGen leaders present a compelling vision of integrated, intentional disciple-making that begins in the nursery and goes on throughout the lives of children and students in our local churches.
Two great examples raised during this session are the inclusion of children in service areas (e.g., sound/tech ministries), and the normalization of discipleship by creating small groups for kids. In the first case, children gain a sense of value and place, and in the latter, they can be truly shepherded as individuals. Citing Eph. 2:10, Chad also speaks to the need for us to help young people identify their design and calling, which requires us, as Lesli puts it, to “be strategic, provide opportunities and see potential.” During the question-and-answer session, the Holy Spirit Discovery for Kids resource is mentioned, and it’s worth checking out here.
God has given us a great opportunity to invest the talents (NextGen members) wisely—not bury them in a silo that is disconnected from the mission and vision of the local church. Maybe it’s time for a rethink? Or perhaps you just need someone to tell you that your crazy ideas about youth ministry aren’t so crazy after all?
Check out this Multiply Track and hear about the heart of Foursquare NextGen. This “Multiply: NextGen Ministry” session is available as a free audio download.
To see more Connection 2014, click here.