Are you thinking strategically when it comes to reaching this generation of teenagers? Are you evaluating your approaches and programs, gauging their effectiveness? As you do, I want to encourage you make sure you remember an extremely important tool in you have at your disposal: Cooperation.
I think we can all agree that reaching this generation with the message of the Gospel is a huge task. I believe it can be done, but it will take all of us working together as the Body of Christ. Cooperation is key.
I remember a dinner I had years ago with the founder of First Priority, Benny Proffitt. Sadly, we shared common stories about how many churches are failing to work together. As we sat there I jotted down several things on a napkin (which is still in my desk today). This napkin is a list of connection points that typically bring churches together in our communities. Moving beyond our individual church strategies, traditions, and theology, these basic things are rallying points that we all share:
- Children (Students)
- Campus (Schools)
Now, all of these are unifying factors. But a crisis will unite churches quicker than any of these. If there is a natural disaster or death, we drop everything, come together, and rush to take care of the impending needs. This is both a natural and appropriate reaction.
So, how do we harness this spirit of cooperation to reach teenagers? My prayer is that our churches will begin to view the spiritual state of this generation of teenagers as a crisis. I am no alarmist, but I believe a crisis mentality would lead us to drop everything, work together, and do what it takes to meet the spiritual needs of teenagers.
Let me challenge you to be a catalyst in bringing your city's churches, organizations, and leaders together. A lost and generation provides the common denominator for you to work together. Doctrines do not have to divide if the message of Christ is central. We can communicate a unifying strategy to other pastors and leaders by agreeing that the CRISIS with students in our communities belongs to all of us, not just one church or denomination. Collectively, we will become stronger than any one individual or organization.
- Is cooperation something you do well? Tell us about it . . . What are the challenges? What are the benefits?
- What keeps you from partnering with other churches to reach the teenagers of your community?