GeneratioNext was the Pepsi advertising campaign in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They were aiming at a younger consumer, but I took it as my ministry slogan. I even had one of those blue soccer jerseys with the word “GeneratioNext” on the front side of it. As a young preacher and youth pastor, I was all about raising up the next generation of believers with the love and message of Jesus. And I still am today.
The Message of Raising up the Next Generation Is Everywhere
It was early in my walk with Jesus that I heard a message preached by a Forge speaker about how every Christian is part of God’s plan to reach the world, and I was sold. My morning devotion before that Sunday morning church service included Isaiah 6.8: “Who will I send? Who will go for us?” God was tapping on my shoulder that day, and I responded, “Here I am, send me!” Suddenly one thing seemed to jump out of the pages of the Bible during my daily readings: raising up the next generation.
- God wanted the people of Israel to teach their children how to love Him, therefore He said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart… These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children” (Deu. 6:5–9 CSB).
- In Proverbs, Solomon speaks throughout the book with a fatherly tenderness: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction…” ( Prov. 1.8 CSB).
- It’s the same tone apostle Paul used with Timothy and Titus, his children in Christ. John the apostle called his readers “children” (1 John 2.8).
- Jesus had disciples and commanded all believers to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28.18-20).
The evidence that God is reaching out to the next generation is everywhere in the Bible.
How to Raise up the Next Generation by Aiming Small
Some people are trying to reach the next generation by aiming for the crowds, and God is blessing many of those ministries. I rejoice in that. A lot of people feel uncomfortable among crowds. But most of us can reach out to one individual at a time.
Things like making conversation, developing a friendship, doing activities like painting a room together, having lunch, going to get groceries for a neighbor in need, and many more are opportunities that can be turned into a life-on-life teaching scenario.
Just as work colleagues learn from each other the skills necessary to do their job, or like a mother and daughter work together on a school project—sharing knowledge and experience from an older generation to the next one—we pass on…
- Our knowledge of God
- The ways that have worked for us to develop intimacy with Him
- The resources that have helped us follow Jesus closer
This is one way we all can get involved in raising up the next generation.
That’s not difficult or intimidating, right?
We Were All the Next Generation Once
Think about this—we all were the next generation in someone's eyes at one point. Where would you be if somebody had not thought about reaching out to you with the love and message of Jesus? They saw you through His eyes!
Going back to my story, to that Forge speaker that came to town to preach, I was part of the next generation. He gave me a copy of the It’s My Turn book and worked with me so that the next summer I would be part of Forge Equipping. It was through that Forge training program that I learned how to spend time with God on a deeper level and to raise up the next generation with the love and message of Jesus.
When I went back home to Mexico City, I started meeting with a young man and passing on to him everything I had received through Forge. Then came another young man, and later another one. And over the years, God has continued to show me the next individual in whom I must invest.
Remember That a Moment Can Change Lives
Today, I am a Forge speaker and Director of Forge’s Firebrand Training Program. I have traveled preaching God’s word for the last 24 years. On my way to an event I spoke at last week, the long ride through the valleys of central Mexico provided time to reflect on that moment that changed everything for me—when I said “send me” to God for the first time. I also thought back to that Forge Equipping summer when the Lord set my life on a course of action raising up the next generation. I thank God for sending that Forge speaker to that little church in Mexico City; I thank him for those that made it possible for me to attend a training program in America, and for those that put an It’s My Turn book in my hands. That moment that changed everything for me was preceded by many little moments in the lives of others.
- They said, “send me”
- They gave to print resources
- They gave to train up the next generation
- They prayed for me without knowing me
A moment can change things for somebody.
Join Forge in Raising up the Next Generation
I’ve had the privilege to preach to thousands. I have seen lots of people come to Jesus. I have seen God set lives on a course of action for Kingdom impact. I have seen pastors and missionaries called and sent to their mission fields and churches. All of them have had a moment that changed everything because of my moment with God that changed everything. Maybe today is your moment to give, to pray, to go, to respond to the impulse of the Spirit so that others in their turn can have their moment.
Would you pray for Forge and our training programs?
Would you consider giving to our ministry so that we can raise up the next generation?
Is it time for you to join one of our training opportunities or get the most out of our many resources?
Seize the moment!
I still have that blue GeneratioNext soccer jersey. It’s a good reminder that raising up the next generation with the love and message of Jesus will just take a moment. So let’s take a moment.