Published March 25, 2010
The first handheld calculator was introduced. The first cellular phone was manufactured. The popular entertainment release of the year was an innovative video game called, PONG!
A large baby named Shaquille O’neal was born and Marlon Brando won the Best Actor award in “The Godfather.”
Amongst all of those milestones, another accomplishment never seen before or since took place almost unnoticed. It had never happened before, and hasn’t since. That year, 1972, was the only year churches of the Georgia Baptist Convention baptized over 10,000 students, (10,256 to be exact).
We are long overdue for a unique movement of God in our students.
In the last decade, there has been a great deal of concern about the number of students disappearing from church after high school graduation. More recently, there has been increasing concern over the declining number of baptisms in student ministries across the Southern Baptist Convention.
Nationally, much has been made about the graying of Baby Boom generation. Yet, in my travels across Georgia I am hearing a great deal of concern about the graying of our churches.
Many sense we are seeing fewer young adults and students attending our churches. Most studies agree that more than 60 percent of those over 60 attend church. Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, states in his book “The Bridger Generation” that only about 4 percent of 13-30 year olds attend church.
As your state missionary to the Next Generation, occasionally someone will ask, “Kids just don’t seem to come to church anymore. What’s wrong with them?”
Each summer, I spend several weeks with some students at Impact, SuperWOW, and Merge, (our GBC Youth Ministry Office Camps). I ask what is important to them. Here is whay they say.
1. Encourage the entire church to value students.
2. Pray for us.
3. Give us a volunteer team of adults to lead and care for us.
4. Help our parents lead us and teach us to love them.
5. Believe in us, and help us reach our family and friends.
6. Send us. We want to be used by God to go to our community and the edges of the planet in his name.
Sounds like pretty solid advice. The good news is there are many churches experiencing a new boom of influence with the next generation. There are approximately 954,000 students ages 11-18 in Georgia. We have 3,600 churches. In those churches, we have almost 86,000 students enrolled in a small group Bible study.
If each of our churches led three students to faith in Christ and baptized in 2010, we would reach 10,800 students this year – and eclipse God’s great accomplishment through His people in 1972. Request “Reaching Ideas” sheets from me at email@example.com, and pray for a movement of God in this generation.
Scott Kindig is a consultant in GBC Youth Ministries.
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