The following is a re-post from the blog of Pastor Perry Noble, the founder and lead pastor of NewSpring Church of Anderson, SC. As a pastor who is concerned about young adults and emerging generations of Christ-followers, I found this post very encouraging. I hope you do as well. Blessings…
I lead a discipleship group of about 10-12 young men and women who are in high school…I’ve done so for the past two years. Here are seven things I believe about the next generation (people who are 20 and younger)…
#1 – The next generation will see one of the greatest awakenings the world has ever seen…I really do believe the Lord is setting them up for it. (Which is why I believe the greatest investment in “missions” that the church can make today is the one to have a dynamic youth and children’s ministry!)
#2 – The way the next generation will view and do church will be different than the way we do it today. They will fully know and comprehend how to reach out to themselves…and our role as a church should be to fund it and not fight it (that line is borrowed from Andy Stanley)!
#3 – The next generation seems to be way more serious about their walk with Jesus than my generation has ever been.
#4 – I believe those of us who are “more mature” (OLDER) should seek out those who are in their teens and listen to their questions and frustrations about life and church without coming down on them. If we will listen and patiently explain things there could be way less tension between generations in the church. Might does not make right. And…the “mature” people should always be the first to step into a relationship with the next generation!
#5 – I fully believe that the next generation has no earthly idea what God wants to do in them and through them…and if we will teach them to be fully surrendered on a daily basis that our children and grandchildren will see God do things we didn’t even think were possible.
#6 – I believe the next generation is not content with borrowing the faith of their parents, they are asking questions and seeking to understand WHAT they believe and WHY they believe it…and them doing that is going to equip them to take the church to the next level (I Peter 3:15).
#7 – I believe the next generation is going to refuse to settle for the way things are…and that as their view of WHO God is begins to increase so will their expectation in regards to what He can do.
“I can’t believe in a God that would send someone to a place like Hell.”
“What kind of loving God would send people to Hell?”
“Who gets to decide who gets into Heaven and who has to go to Hell?”
Rob Bell addresses these common questions in his upcoming book, Love Wins, which has already stirred massive controversy by his implications that no one will go to Hell. Below is the video trailer that he himself has released, which is largely responsible for the widespread controversy. I’ll attempt to address the questions he raises as concisely as possible…
- “Gandhi’s in Hell? He is?!? And someone knows this for sure?” My Answer: I don’t know. And no human could possibly know for sure.
- “Will only a few select people make it to Heaven?” My Answer: As far as the Bible is concerned, yes. Matthew 7:13,14
- “And will billions, and billions of people burn forever in Hell?” My Answer: I have no idea how many it will be, but yes, many, many people will go to a real place called Hell. Romans 6:23, Revelation 20:15
- “And if that is the case, how do you become one of the few?” My Answer: Turn away from your man-made attempts at pleasing God and pleasing yourself, and give your life to God by placing your faith in Jesus, who lived a sinless life, died as a substitution for humanity, and rose again on the third day proving to be God. John 3:16-19, Romans 3:23-28, Romans 10:9-13
- “And then there is the question behind the question. Like: What is God like?” My Answer: This a great question. A loaded question, but a great one. I’ll answer this in a separate blog post this week.
- “So what gets subtly caught and taught is that Jesus rescues you from God.” My Answer: Jesus is God. Jesus dying for humanity is God taking upon Himself His own righteous judgment for man’s rebellion. His holiness demands that wickedness be eliminated. His love demands that mankind be pardoned. The cross is the greatest evidence of God’s holiness and love.
- “How can that God ever be good?” My Answer: Bell is defining “good” based on getting what we want (Heaven) without the consequences (Hell). The real question would be, “How could a pure, perfect and holy God allow wicked humanity into His heaven?” But to answer the question, God is good in every sense by virtue of His willingness to die for sinful man, allowing us the opportunity to experience both His love and holiness. Romans 5:6-11, 1 John 4:7-12
I sense that we are no where near done talking about this, and that I a likely to hear from many of you in emails and through the comments. I welcome your interaction, but let’s keep it civil, please. More posts WILL follow about these issues…