Summary: Ten Keys to Reaching Youth (I Cor. 9:22,23) Young people struggle with loneliness, feelings of worthlessness, relativistic confusions, anger, hurt, meaninglessness, indifference, and unmet needs. Paul gives us insights into reaching them for Jesus Christ.
Ten Keys to Reaching Youth - I Cor. 9:22,23
Many young people struggle with loneliness, feelings of worthlessness, relativistic confusions, anger, hurt, meaninglessness, indifference, and unmet needs. Only 12% of people under 18 are coming to church in America. Even worse, only 10% of these people continue going to church when they are adults.
Illustration: America’s youth are facing their darkest hour. Eighty-eight percent of America’s more than 30 million teenagers are un-churched. Of the 12 percent who do currently attend church, 80 percent will stop attending before they graduate from high school. Surveys show that 90 percent of people who give their lives to Christ do so before the age of 30. At every critical turning point in the Old Testament, we see a call to the nation of Israel for prayer and fasting. We believe that in order for America to experience revival, we must see the fulfillment of Malachi 4:6. One of The Call’s main purposes is to see God "turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and turn the hearts of the children to their fathers." We are asking for the fathers’ blessing on the youth of America.
Illustration: 85% of people who come to Christ do so before the age of 18.
Illustration: Nearly 50% of the world’s population is under 25. In most countries in the developing world, 50% of the population is under 15. There are more than 3.5 billion people on the planet who are under 20 years of age. Sadly, if they live to adulthood, many of these dear young people will not become Christians and spend eternity without God. We cannot afford to miss out on the great opportunities before us to reach young people for Christ.
Illustration: Ron Hutchcraft says, "Young people are tormented by loneliness, saturated by sex, fascinated with the dark side of the supernatural and susceptible to suicide. We cannot abandon them.
Ten points define this generation. First: Loneliness runs deep. They are home alone, raised by their music, by television, by video games. They will do anything to get a loving feeling, even if only for a night. A lot of what’s going on sexually isn’t about biology. Its about intimacy, feeing close to someone for a few minutes." (Amsterdam 2000)
Paul gives us insights into reaching them for Jesus Christ. He writes, "To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible menas I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."
1. Paul knew the power of identifying the heart felt needs of people. Learn how to listen so you can find out where young people of today are expressing their greatest felt needs. Do not just speak to the head without addressing the heart felt needs of young people.
Too many of us talk a lot but we do not feel other peoples’ pain. Do not start talking about facts but talk about feelings so you can identify with where people are at in their present mindset.
Learn to be more empathetic in your interactions so that you can express compassion, sympathy and kindness to those who are longing to be touched by someone who truly loves and accepts them for who they are. Paul wrote, "For it is with your heart that you believe..." (Rom. 10:10)
Ask the Lord for the wisdom, passion and rapport so you can speak to the heart of young people.
2. Paul found non-religious ways to speak in the language of his audience. Young people want to know if you can speak their language. They are interested to know if you can identify on their level and within their cultural framework. Trust the Lord to help you learn from successful youth Pastors the best ways to speak in terms that young people will understand the essentials of the God’s truth.
Paul wrote, "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power." (I Cor. 2:4) Do not think you have to sound intellectual, but just be Spirit empowered and relevant.
3. Paul used his God given personality and gifts to reach people. Do not think you have to be something you are not to reach youth. Let God’s truth, love and grace come through the personality He has gifted you with.
Ask the Lord to give you the ability to use whatever you have to meet the needs of youth through a loving, caring and understanding relationship. Friends have a way of communicating across cultural barriers because they see through all of our human limitations.
4. Paul would pray for the youth of today as a way of connecting with their spiritual needs. Only prayerful people are able to minister to youth with the power of God’s hand upon them. Do not think you can reach youth without spending protracted time in prayer for each individual young person you want to work with. Paul wrote, "I planted and Apollos watered, but God caused the fruit." (I Cor. 3:5,6)