Make Disciples of All Generations
Updated: Jan 2, 2020
In Psalm 83, David voices a personal conflict raging inside. Perplexing things he does not understand are occurring around and within him. He can’t seem to get the right perspective, and in frustration he cries out to God:
“How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?…Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes” (Psalms 13:2-3).
According to a poll recently conducted by the Barna Group, many young adults today, both inside and outside the Church, feel the same way. And sadly, it appears that the Church is doing little to provide young adults the answers they need.
For the rising generation, 47% of those with a Christian background find that the church is unable to “answer their questions.” This includes not just about daily issues in the world around them but even with their own “spiritual doubts” as well.
This inability to “consider and answer” (using David’s words) the questions of younger generations is producing higher levels of apprehension. Forty percent report they are anxious about any sort of large decisions, uncertain about the future, and harbor a significant fear of failure. And 34% have intense feelings of loneliness, with 38% feeling disconnected from the world and society. 
The result is that among those who grew up in faith, 58% no longer attend church or identify as Christian, with three in four confessing that the church seems “out of touch with reality.” They see Christians as judgmental (81%), not being useful to those around them, and even failing in the simple Biblical directive to help the poor (~60%). Only one in seven young adults (ages 18 to 35) “attends church regularly, engages with the faith community beyond just attending worship services, trusts firmly in the authority of the Bible, is committed to Jesus personally, and expresses a desire for their faith to impact their actions.”
The Church and Christians should remember the mandate Jesus issued in Matthew 28:18-20: to go and make disciples of all people, teaching them to follow everything He taught. This certainly includes what He said about salvation, heaven, and hell, but it also includes His teachings on economics (Luke 19), employer and employee relationships (Matthew 20), definitions of marriage and gender (Matthew 19), legal issues such as due process (John 8), and so much else.
We must share these teachings in the collective setting of the Church, but it is also our individual responsibility as Christians to communicate these teachings to others in one-to-one settings. Each of us should find another person to teach and mentor—as Philip did with the Ethiopian official (Acts 8:16-40), Peter with the Roman Centurion (Acts 10:1-11:18), Ananias with Saul (Paul) (Acts 9:10-19), Jesus with the woman at the well (John 4:4-16), and so forth.
Every Christian must accept the responsibility of forming personal relationships with those around them and then teach and disciple others on an individual basis. Without this, the Bible (not to mention the church) will continue to seem increasing irrelevant to rising generations.
Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.
 “Key Findings,” The Connected Generation (Barna Group, 2019), here; Samuel Smith, “Nearly Half of Young Adults With Ties to Christianity Say Church Can’t Answer Their Questions: Survey,” The Christian Post (November 8, 2019), here