This past week I had the privilege to speak to a youth group at First Wesleyan Church in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The crowd was high school, college and a sprinkling of older adults as well. A great crowd of youth came with expectant hearts and lively minds. I was asked to share about the work in India with the orphans and church planting. Seeing their faces as I shared power point photos of some of the work was golden. I’m praying for the Lord to continue to burn a desire in the hearts of these young people for missions and church planting…not just overseas, but in their neighborhood.
After that, I shared a brief message, “What is Truth?” Prodding and probing the hearts of those in attendance with how each of us answer the postmodern challenges to the gospel. These youth took the message to heart and were filled with questions. We opened the floor for the Q & A session and the real ministry began. For over an hour in the ‘official’ service, and then for 3 more hours after that, questions were constantly asked and discussed. I barely had time to grab a slice of pizza. In fact, a friend had to bring it to me, as I could not tear away from the constant stream of questions.
These youth wanted to understand how to answer their friends who object to the gospel because of difficult questions. They wanted to know, from God, how to reach their lost friends. They were hungry with a desire for real answers. They were not looking for the cute refrigerator answers and bumper sticker responses. No. They wanted to understand the heart issues.
I believe that too many times we hide behind some false views of ’contextualization’ and dumb down the gospel by trying to spoon feed young people. Instead, let us expect the Holy Spirit to elevate them into mature discussions about the heart issues and the big questions of life. They can take it…and they want it!
Do not hand out crackers and cheese when young people are looking for a steak! Let us lay down the baby spoons and call for them to step up in their understanding of the gospel by challenging them to use their mind and heart. With a simple shift in language, we can communicate the glorious treasures of truth with all of its majesty and understanding. The youth of today are hungry for apologetics, systematic theology and doctrinal discussions. Not in a dry lifeless sense, but with application, humility, and the existential realness they are looking for.
Do not dumb down the gospel…the next generation depends upon it.