I want to conclude my discussion from parts one and two of this blog about 21st Century faith. Christians who were raised in the 20th Century often find it a challenge to communicate the gospel in the 21st Century because of the quite different values and viewpoints of younger people.
In part one of this blog I discussed how 21st Century people tend to value functionality. Rather than asking the question of whether something is moral, they may ask whether it is practical. So given the practicality of people in our times, maybe we should be saying, “Come and meet my Jesus. Try him. You won’t be disappointed. OK, so you don’t believe Jesus is the THE truth. Fine. He is the truth, but he is also a lot of other things you do believe in. Jesus is real and loving and gracious and intriguing and full of purpose and adventure–things you value. Those qualities all ultimately come from Jesus Christ.”
As they check Jesus out, we older Christians must be more patient than we have been. 21st Century people may not change as quickly as we hope as they begin to follow Jesus. They may not immediately adopt everything we think a devoted follower of Christ should.
So in bringing this discussion to a close, let me ask a basic question: What if we actually succeed in reaching a significant number of 21st Century people? Along with that big question are some more specific questions to ponder.
Some questions to consider:
- Can 21st Century people meet Jesus among us? In some cases we may have to be Jesus to them until they are willing to meet the Lord himself.
- Will we want 21st Century people once they respond? They will change the way we do things in our churches and gatherings. Some of them won’t fit in very well. They may bring their kids– some of which will be disruptive. They may use a vocabulary we aren’t accustomed to. They may have a past that is pretty colorful.
- What sacrifices are we willing to make to bring 21st Century people to Jesus and grow them in the faith? Remember, the gospel is for them as much as for any generation. What’s more, they are the future of Christianity in our society. So what are we going to do now to include them and prepare them to carry the banner of Christ into the future?