What Is the Secret to Reaching the Next Generation?

June 21, 2024

It’s Not a Secret

The secret to reaching the next generation is that there is no secret. I remember years ago when the emergent church was a thing (and it’s not really a thing anymore, but the spirit is kind of still there) and because I’d written this book against one of the current trendy things in the church and because I was young at the time and pastoring a church right across the street from a major university, people would ask, almost putting a microphone in my face, “Tell us! What’s the secret? If it’s not this thing, what is it?”

And ever since then I’ve thought about that question. I would sometimes say, "The secret is not a secret”—which is true—but then I would try to give a little bit more to the answer. And what I mean by that quip is although there’s certainly good reason to have some cultural understanding and contextualization rightly understood—we’re not trying to have a church that asks people to go live in the seventeenth century or something—and yet, what I want to say with “the secret is not a secret” is that people are still people. Human nature is still the same. The gospel is still the same.

And it’s not just that the message is the same (almost every Christian would say that), but for the most part, what we really need to do is keep doing the same things that Christians in every age have been called to do: to make disciples and to love one another and to speak the truth and to be kind and ask good questions. So the secret to reaching the next generation is that there really is no secret. It’s what it’s always been. That is to be a faithful, mature Christian who understands the gospel, can share it with others, can call them in with the love of Christ, and then tell them how to find that same love.

This content was originally published on Crossway

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