For the two thousand years since Jesus, generation after generation has fulfilled His command of the Great Commission. Regardless of the changing times and eras, Christianity has survived and spread on the wings of the subsequent generation. They received the torch from the preceding generation and went out–sharing their faith and the gospel.
Jesus states the command in Matthew 28:19-20:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
As a youth pastor, who has lived the Great Commission through several short-term mission trips and countless outreaches, as well as a parent of three Gen Z and Gen Alpha children, I’ve been pondering what the future of the Great Commission will be in the coming generations. Do these kids have what it takes to go to the ends of their city limits, their neighborhoods, or even outside of their technology-filled bedrooms to reach the ends of the earth for Jesus?
This generation will carry missions well
My family and I are new to the Atlanta Dream Center (ADC) team where I came to serve as Director of Missions. We have the great blessing of welcoming 60+ teams made up of pastors, leaders, families, and students from all over the United States to do short-term (week-long) missions each year. Not only do I have the pleasure of being in missions on a daily basis, but I’m also in pastoral leadership as the Director of the Atlanta School of Ministry (ASOM). One of our main focuses is sharing the Kingdom at home and overseas while training the next generation of missionaries. With ADC Missions and ASOM as the example, the future of missions seems to be in great hands.
This generation wants to make an impact
It seems every coming of age generation gives a bad rap to the generations that come after them. Generations X, Y, Z, and Alpha have experienced this as they often are unfairly ridiculed as lazy and complacent about tough issues. I don’t subscribe to this thinking. This group of youth will rally like no other around causes that they can feel good about. If your cause makes it evident what the mission is, defines the “why”, and demonstrates how their time, money and talent can help out, they will be compelled to get involved.
I’ve watched hundreds of young people come to the city of Atlanta and fight through their fears and insecurities to serve an ever growing population that consists of 3,200 people living in a state of homelessness, and a city which studies of sex trafficking around the United States rank among the worst. In addition, many of these millennials raise their own support to make this opportunity possible, and some even skip spring break or summer vacation just to serve the cause. These youth prove that they want to make an impact–all it takes is a quick stroll through what they share on social media to see that.
This generation Obeys the Call of the great commission
Still, with all of this, many of these youth come serve more than once. They feel a part of the family and come year after year to serve with their church, and some even get called to join the cause at greater sacrifice and enroll in the Atlanta School of Ministry.
Whether they are ministry students or short-term missionaries, they feel an obligation to make a difference and they respond to a call on their lives to spread the Gospel. And usually, as a surprise to themselves, through wanting to make a difference in others’ lives, they learn that the biggest life change happens in them.
And as you witness all of this, you see them actively living out 1 Timothy 4:12:
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
So what now?
Many of these young people get the Gospel, sometimes for the first time, and grasp the mindset much earlier than I or any of my peers did. Each and every time I see someone get the revelation of Jesus’ Kingdom, we see the proverbial light bulb come on. It is refreshing to hear the next generation share their testimony, and consequently see the trajectory of their lives develop.