Young people are leaving the Church at an alarming rate and many of them feel as if they’re not being invested in. In this video, Jon Akin discusses three reasons why the Church should make developing its young people a priority.
Jon Akin is the Director of Young Leader Engagement for the North American Mission Board.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
It’s absolutely vital that local churches develop young people in their congregation.
1. Biblical Mandate
There’s many reasons for it, but the first one I would say and obviously the most important, is there’s a biblical mandate. We have a biblical mandate that’s given to us by Jesus. The last words that He told us before He ascended into heaven was that the business of the church is to make disciples.
And so we, that means as parents, the young people that are given to us that are called children, we need to disciple them and we need to train them to be leaders in the church and to be servants in the church.
And that means that we who are older in the congregation, those have been walking with Christ for many years, have a responsibility to disciple younger people. Which means working in the nursery. Which means teaching children’s Sunday school. Which means working as a volunteer in youth ministry.
One of the key factors of whether or not young people who are raised in the church stay in the church after they graduate college is that they had one relationship with an adult outside of their parents in the church. Like one key relationship with an adult who’s not their parents in the church. And that keeps so many young people involved in church.
So there is a biblical mandate for us to invest our lives in young people. And there’s a biblical mandate for older women to invest in younger women. And for older men to entrust to younger, faithful men the things that they have learned. We need to be obedient to the Bible. That’s the number one reason why we need to develop young leaders.
2. A New Generation to Lead
But secondly, I think the reason why God commands that, there’s a practical reason for that. If you don’t develop young leaders in your church, guess what? Your church is going to die. I mean, that’s just math. It’s just facts. If you don’t raise up a younger generation who’s going to be able to lead, who’s going to be able to take the baton and keep running the race, then your church is not going to last.
And we’re seeing this crisis really in America. The median age of a pastor in the last 25 years has risen from 44 years old to 54 years old. Barna has come out with this research and they say that America is facing a leadership crisis in the church.
Most pastors who are getting to the age where they’re getting ready to retire have no idea who in their congregation or who in their sphere of influence or network of relationships that they could actually hand the church over to. That’s a massive crisis. We’ve got thousands of churches that millions and millions, hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in and given to for the mission and they’re greying and they’re dying and they have nobody to entrust all of that resource and all of that effort and all of that time that they spent ministering for the Lord to. They’ve got nobody they can turn that over to.
And so, practically, we have to invest in the next generation. We have to invest in younger leaders because they are the ones who are gonna make sure the church is carried forward into the future.
3. Vibrancy and Energy
And then thirdly, I would say that the reason why we do this is vibrancy and positivity and energy.
One of the things that we recognize is we, as young people, need the wisdom and we need the experience of older mothers and fathers in the faith. That we need them to invest in us and to pour into us. And we need to have the humility to listen to them and to learn at their feet.
But the older generation needs the vibrancy and the energy of the younger generation. We need each other. We’re a family. Just like any healthy family’s gonna have grandparents, parents, and children. And so any church is gonna have that as well.
In order to have vibrancy and energy, people who are willing to take great risks and who are willing to do things that are really hard like go to hard places and endure persecution and those kinds of things, we need the energy of the younger generation. And so it is vital that we develop young leaders in our church.