This should not be a matter up for debate!
The unreached and unengaged populations of the world, including the 10-40 window, are still getting younger by the second! Of the world’s 8 billion people, there are currently 3.5 billion youth (ages 10-29) and at least 2.5 billion of those do NOT follow Jesus! That number is growing every hour of every day. And every day, we are losing the battle for lost souls as more people are coming into the world as non-believers than the number of people who are being converted to faith in Jesus. It grieves me to write. Even with all the advances in technology and new methods of sharing the gospel, we are currently losing the battle for the souls of man! And, if you are like me, this is NOT acceptable!
If you believe, as I do, that according to God’s eternal plan, Jesus came to earth and died for 100% of the human race and wants ALL who are currently breathing on planet Earth to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to come to faith in Him as Lord and Savior, then keep reading! Pause for a few minutes and re-read these powerful reminders of God’s desire to win ALL the world to Himself:
- John 3:16-17
- John 12:32
- Acts 17:30
- Romans 5:6,18- 19
- Romans 11:32
- 1 Timothy 2:3-6
- 1 Tim. 4:9-10
- Titus 2:11
- 2 Peter 3:9
- Psalms 145:9
- 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15
- 1 John 2:2
Jesus charged us, as His followers, to take this All-Powerful Gospel to ALL the World so that ALL would have the opportunity to know and follow him – but we have FAILED TO DO SO. Using the most liberally inclusive stats, a maximum of 25% of the world’s population know and follow Christ, leaving 75%, (6 billion precious souls) in a hopeless state of condemnation, and over 55% of those 6 billion are under the age of 30!
Now let me address the primary matter: who exactly can best reach the YOUTH of the world? The answer is the Youth themselves! We need to reach and unleash the youth of this world to reach their own world, and the sooner the better! Having said that, if you are still with me, I want to move on to attempt to answer the question: “What can the church do to initiate and perpetuate such a global youth movement that will help the church of Jesus Christ fulfill the Great Commission?” If a global evangelistic youth movement is to be born that sweeps across the world, especially the world of the unreached, I sincerely believe it must begin in the existing local evangelical churches of, the world! Yes, the churches of North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and everywhere in between… Then, spread to the unengaged and unreached parts of the world.
YOUTH… are the Key! The church must reach and disciple the youth of our world, specifically focusing on generations A (Alpha, born 2013-2025), Z (born 1996-2012), and Y or Millennial generation (born 1981-1996) who are taking over the world in record numbers. Sorry, but as Generation Xers (born 1965-1980) and BOOMERS (born 1946-1964), our chance is waning fast, and we have FAILED to reach the finish line. Ouch, I know that hurts… but let’s face facts, on our watch, though conversion rates have increased, the overall number of unreached is outpacing the number of conversions worldwide! What do we do? How do we pray? Who’s turn is it to “take the baton”?— TODAY’S YOUTH THEMSELVES! Where are these resurgent YOUTH who will change the tide of the unreached vs reached in the world? Answer: they are RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW in our local churches… just waiting like David (Christian youth) who was begging Saul (the church of today) to say OK, “let me go fight Goliath (the challenge of world evangelization)… and allow me to use my gifts and talents (slingshot), not our culturally and traditionally paralyzed methodology! Too many Christian youths in our churches today are hanging out at home, away from the evangelical battlefield, tending sheep. They are relegated away from ministry work while being controlled and inundated by screens, social media posts, and post-modern “progressive” philosophy.
Our youth are just waiting for the chance to be equipped, unleashed, empowered, and encouraged to enter the GLOBAL GOSPEL BATTLE. Instead, too often they are resigned to the battle to be the first in line to get pizza or grab the x-box controls at the local church youth group hangout! Or they practice for hours to be part of a display we often disguise as a “youth service” once a quarter or once a year, rather than having a weekly ongoing important role in the church’s ministry responsibilities. Rather than have youth services, I would have them involved every week in important ministry. Engage them in roles are every level. Let them teach and disciple. Help them conduct personal and corporate evangelism efforts. Allow them to lead prayer services and small groups or participate in and lead ministry teams. Help them apply their gifts to disciple their world. (drama teams, music teams, prayer teams, planning teams, sports teams, media teams, etc.)
Try this, on a normal Sunday, call a teenager up to the platform to give the service’s opening or closing prayer! Watch the reaction of the adults and other youth in the church! Both will likely gasp and think they must have forgotten that this was “Youth Service Sunday”!
I have discovered in my time as a youth leader in the U.S. (more than 50 years), in addition to my observation of many youth groups all around the world (more than 35 nations), that this generation of youth, ages 10-29 are ready to lead now! These same youth are sick and tired of being relegated to the mantra of – “Our Youth are the ‘Leaders of the church of TOMORROW!”
NO, they WANT to, and CAN be “Leaders of the church of TODAY!” Help them lean into the Great Commission Youth Movement.
This blog is taken from a paper written by Randy Smith, Founder and CEO of Great Commission Youth Ministry. Learn more about this organization here: GCYMTRAINING.COM