“From Genesis and the rest of the Old Testament through the Gospels, Acts and the Epistles we see a theme of transferring faith from older generations to the young emerging generations. The Shema in Deuteronomy 6 is referred to as the Israelites Confession of Faith.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” Deut 6:4-7.
There is a sacred obligation to care for the spiritual formation of young people. We see these kinds of relationships demonstrated throughout the Old Testament in examples like Moses’ relationship with Joshua, Samuel’s relationship with David, and Elijah’s relationship with Elisha. In the New Testament the theme continues. Titus 2 speaks of the principle of older generations teaching the younger generations. Jesus, who begins his ministry when he is approximately thirty years old selected a group of young men (several may have been teenagers) and invested his life into them. Paul continues this pattern in his relationship with Timothy.
This sacred responsibility should not be taken lightly by passionate and obedient followers of Jesus Christ. And yet, while research clearly shows the effectiveness of adult efforts in the spiritual formation of young people, research also sadly shows that churches and ministries are having a hard time finding adults who are willing to invest in the spiritual development of young people. This is a tragedy and negligent violation of God’s intention for adult followers of Jesus to engage in the spiritual formation of the emerging generations.
According to research commissioned by The Pioneer Club Ministry, most Christian adults strongly agree that their own faith development was shaped by adults in their lives during their youth. And yet, less than half of this same group believes that they have a responsibility to nurture the emerging generation of Christian young people.
Youth Pastors are struggling to find adults to serve as mentors and prayer partners for young people. Youth ministries are falling short of having the resources needed to reach a new generation with the Good News of Jesus Christ. God have mercy. What tremendous opportunities we have today if we became committed to evangelize and disciple our young people.”