Focus on Who’s NextPosted on September 12th, 2011.
Focus on who’s next.
I did it as a pastor. I have endeavored to keep the same emphasis in leading the Spiritual Formation ministries of The Wesleyan Church. It is a focus I am investing a huge part of my life and Christ’s ministry through me in. It is not an “exclusive” focus, but definitely a priority choice. Who do you focus your local church and personal ministry efforts on? Do you realize that researches say around 90 percent of those who accept Jesus as their Savior these days are fourteen years of age or younger? This is the important indicator of why it is crucial to provide vital and relevant ministries for our youngest. When pondering this, do not be tempted to misinterpret what I’m saying. I am not saying if you are over fifteen the church is through ministering to you. People over fourteen who accept and follow Jesus still count. Because there is focus in ministry, I am not saying this is a license to ignore other age groups. In fact, one of the best emphases a local church could develop is to create an atmosphere where mutual ministry happens between and to the variety of generations in any community.
Do you realize that researches say around 90 percent of those who accept Jesus as their Savior these days are fourteen years of age or younger?
Not one person is spiritually complete once they have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. No one is finished growing in his/her relationship with Jesus this side of heaven. The holiest of them all on the earth still needs to become more like Jesus, unless you are Jesus Himself! We need to offer vibrant ministry to every generation. But, if you have to make a choice on where to start or when to focus – start with the children and youth. While it wasn’t always popular, I asked the adults of the church I pastored to help me reach the kids. Thankfully, they did. And, they did it well – as unto Christ. We were able to develop dynamic, life-changing ministries to children and youth. Some of those kids are in vocational ministry today. Many of them are serving the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength as godly teachers, homemakers, truck drivers, fitness instructors, lawyers, and doctors. Entire families were baptized in the same sacramental ceremony. Even grandparents of the children and youth we reached came to church and were transformed into new creations by the power of Jesus.
If I were pastoring today, I’d make the same choice. I would make sure ministry was available to every generation, but the focus would be on the youth of the congregation. Why? They are most receptive to the Gospel. They will evangelize their parents and grandparents. Yes, they will get the carpet dirty. Yes, they will make noise and look a little different on occasion. You’re right – they don’t tithe much. But, it will be the young who, if they get Jesus and His truth right in their lives early and often, will keep authentic Christianity alive and well in a world so desperately in need of Him. They will keep the Wesleyan message of heart change and holy lifestyle going.
Many adults made ministry to me a priority. Parents, teachers, pastors, youth leaders, volunteers, and a few chaperones were focused on kids like me so I would have many opportunities to truly follow Jesus. They made sure their focus was on Jesus for me. They made sure church stuff was fun and engaging. Now it’s my turn. A simple way my family and I focus on our youngest is teaching a preschool class at the church plant we are members of. Will you join me? You and I well know who we are in Jesus Christ. No, we’re not done in our walk of obedience. Even so, it is our turn to focus on the next generation of disciples of Jesus Christ.Dr. Jim Dunn
SFD General Director