A group of photo of smiling and laughing toddlers

From one generation to the next

Harvest Partner — September 22, 2023

God’s concern for people extends from one generation to the next. This is repeated over and over in Scripture. Often, it is expressed with the instruction to teach the Scriptures and to broadcast the good news of God’s love, holiness, mercy, justice, and salvation far and wide, including to children.

These verses will be familiar to you: “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds…Teach them to your children…” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19); “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.” (Psalm 145:4)

Every generation of believers receives the same mandate from the Lord — to deliver the good news of Jesus Christ to people everywhere. We learn from God’s word that if we fail to act on this instruction, social chaos and moral confusion will run through a nation with devastating results.

Sadly, in Canada today we are largely reaping the consequences of the younger generations missing out on the guidance, wisdom and hope that comes from Scripture.

My good friend, Dr. Lawson Murray, who leads the ministry of Scripture Union, provided me with his heartfelt concern over the spiritual state of the majority of children in Canada. Here is an excerpt of what he wrote.

Who Will Tell Them?

This generation of Canadian children and youth is more disconnected from Jesus, his word, and his church than any previous generation since Confederation in 1867.

Tragically, as the Silent Generation (1925-1945) is going home to the Lord, the percentage of Christ-followers declines with each successive generation. The reality is that Generation Alpha (2010-2024) and the Zoomer Generation (1995-2010), except for a remnant, neither know the Lord nor what he has done (See Judges 2:10).

What’s needed?

The generational decline in Christ-followers isn’t a peculiarity produced by today’s children and youth. Each generation hears about the works and wonders of the Lord from an earlier generation (See Psalm 78:1-8). The disconnect with Jesus, his word and his church is a delayed result because the majority of Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1964-1980), and Millennials (1981-1995) haven’t nurtured children’s faith.

We must recognize that most children and youth don’t know Jesus because most parents and grandparents aren’t telling “the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done” (Psalm 78:4, NIV).

It’s not too late to help our children and grandchildren “put their trust in God” (Psalm 78). But this is the eleventh hour! We must urgently share the good news about Jesus, pray for revival, and invite young people to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength (see Mark 12:30).

What can we do about it?

With 87% of the under 18s not connected with Jesus, his word or his church, the task of reaching them is enormous. But so too is the opportunity!

God is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, ESV). So, let’s join him by proclaiming the gospel, inviting repentance, and modelling the love of Christ to the children and youth in our homes, churches, and communities.

Every day, children and youth are being formed by a flood of messages of all kinds that ultimately displace God as Lord and Saviour and the One to whom everyone is accountable.

As Lawson Murray wrote above, this is the eleventh hour. For some of us, there will be opportunities to engage with children and youth and talk with them about the Lord, his word, and his ways. For all of us, prayer to God on their behalf must be consistent and persistent. They need us and our prayers, they need to know what we know about the Lord, and they need our influence wherever possible.

May God make a way for the gospel to reach Canadian children and youth. May his kingdom come, and his will be done in their lives.

Will you pray for them?

Let’s pray regularly for the people and groups listed below.

  • The people of God and church leaders.
  • Parents, grandparents and the children and youth of Christian homes.
  • School teachers, professors, and academic administrators.
  • Christian teachers and student groups on and off campuses.
  • Christian schools and their staff.
  • Christian ministries to children.
  • Government leaders, particularly ministers of education and policy makers.

May God, in his great mercy, pour out his grace upon each one and guide them in their responsibilities. May he deliver those held by the devil’s lies. May he make a way for the gospel to reach children and youth and protect them from social pressures, destructive influence, and violence. May God fill his people and ministers with wisdom, strength, and courage to be godly witnesses able to kindly show the way to Christ the Redeemer.

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