For some unknown reason the GPS on my phone has a mind of its own. Numerous times while traveling an Interstate it instructs me to exit in the middle of nowhere only to tell me to get back on the highway I just got off. I don’t get it. Maybe it just wanted me to take a break or to avoid a potential mishap.
Sometimes our directives in life get us off course, though at times the misguided way is so subtle we don’t see the impeding danger. I’m beginning to see that in the way young people are directed these days with career choices. Maybe, just maybe their sense of direction is out of whack just like the quirks with my GPS.
Having returned from several weeks of campus conferences I am convinced that the church must make a more concerted effort to train and equip her young people with mission’s vision. Fewer and fewer are choosing to step to the plate in reaching those beyond the reach of the gospel. They choose backpacking across Europe, handing out tracts, and going to urbanized areas of the world where people already have Bibles, churches, and an established gospel witness. How will we complete the task to make disciples among the nations if we keep avoiding the command and continue planting in over-planted areas while ignoring the unreached?
I believe it all comes down to teaching them to regard the directives Jesus taught us in the gospels. It is our duty to teach this generation of young people the necessity of obeying Christ and doing what He commands us to do. This teaching must begin early on in life.
In bringing children to salvation in Christ we must nurture them with a deep understanding of God’s love for the world and those living beyond the reach of the gospel –that it is up to their generation to finish the work Jesus gave us to do. It’s imperative; ‘make disciples.’
That vision needs taught in the Christian home and in our churches. It needs to begin in early learning and carried throughout middle school, high school, and on into adulthood. Perhaps then, those Christian young people who pursue higher learning will begin to consider what God would have them do, rather than pursue the empty hopes and dreams our culture masquerades as a fulfilling life.
One campus I visited brings students face-to-face with Jesus’ command and the need to give their lives for serving Christ. They preach, yes, PREACH, the mandate of missions at their conference as well as the responsibility of every believer to be a disciple maker. …And they motivate the students to get involved. At the close of this conference some two-hundred young people made life commitments to serve cross-culturally where the gospel has never gone. That’s purposeful direction –there’s nothing wrong with their GPS!
In contrast, another campus held a week-long conference where there was no preparedness to instruct students of their responsibility in the great commission. In fact, some students complained because it was required they had to attend the sessions. However, the message delivered was watered down to humanitarian & relief efforts as fulfilling Gods purpose to impact the lost for Christ. I’d say that GPS is out of whack!
The command is simple: Make disciples! …But for some reason few want to preach that anymore.
So what can we, the church, do about this?
It all comes down to teaching and training our young people with a biblical worldview that sees Gods command as our primary objective in reaching lost people with the gospel. I believe we can turn the tide in seeing this generation step to the task when they reach the age of career choices by systematically giving them a clear vision of the harvest. Perhaps, then, more will choose to serve Christ rather than chasing after the wind.
We must make a greater effort to instruct our children with a vision of God’s heart for the world –in our homes, in our churches, and consistently into the critical teen years when they begin to consider what they will do with their lives. …And we can pray. As a matter of fact, Jesus commands us to pray for harvest laborers.
Begin now by praying specifically for young people in your church… maybe your own kids, or if yours are grown, perhaps you could pray for others children, asking God to motivate them to serve in declaring Christ to the nations. …And let them know you are praying for them to serve the Lord. There may be young families in your church that you can pray for, asking God to direct their steps to consider their part in advancing the gospel to those who never heard of Christ.