Raising the Next Generation – Proverbs 22:6

1410655386Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Familiar words but a heavy implication. Are we training the next generation in the truth and passing on our faith? I was able to preach on just this issue to our congregation.

Listen to it here.  .

We must pass along something solid. The bedrock of our faith is: 1.) Who God is, and 2.) What He has said:

  • In a generation losing its grip on right and wrong we must train them in morality, because God is Good.
  • In a generation accepting relativism we must train them in absolutes, because God is unchanging.
  • In a generation rejecting the Bible as authoritative we must train them in Truth, because God has spoken honestly.
  • In a generation slipping into desperation we must train them in Hope, because God has sent Jesus Christ.

Who are you training up? Are you passing along bedrock? Remember the next generation needs us to put Proverbs 22:6 into action.

Train Up the Next Generation

Here is a fantastic article focused on a glaring deficiency among pastors, and really all believers. We can get so fixed on running “my race” for God in the day to day grind that we forget there is a biblical mandate to guide the next generation into maturity. If we don’t do it who will?

Writing for DesiringGod.org, Mike Bullmore posts “Brothers, Train Up the Next Generation” as a reminder to this very fact.  Check out the article to get a great perspective of the need and solution.

Here are his main points, but go read the full article:

  1. Disciple Faithful Men: Paul is used as a rubric here. Do you have a Timothy?
  2. Beware the Hezekiah Syndrome: After God grants 15 years of “added” life to the sick king, he goes off and parades Israel’s riches before Babylon, Isaiah prophecies coming captivity, but Hezekiah is content that there will be peace in his lifetime. (aka, sorry next gen, but at least I’m ok.)
  3. Avoid Temporal Shortsightedness: it is easy to think only about the here and now, but the coming glory is always a key element in biblical living.
  4. Cultivate a Far-seeing Vision: Contrast Hezekiah with Paul. It take intentionality and devotion, but it is our responsibility.
  5. Invest in the Next Gospel Generation: 1) be personally devoted to Gospel ministry, 2) Notice those who rise to the top, 3) create context for youth to “practice” handling the Word, 4) Pray intentionally for God to raise up passionate hearts, pray for your replacement.

5 Things Student Pastors Can’t Fully Teach from a Stage

Is your teaching/preaching effective? Great. But even with the most dynamic teacher on stage every week, teenagers still learn more through seeing who you really are and how you really live.

Here are my thoughts on 5 things student pastors can’t fully teach from a stage, but MUST teach with their lives.

  1. A Genuine Love for the Word:  If you don’t genuinely love the scripture, your teenagers will see straight through your lame attempts. If you gush scripture at every opportunity, they will see that too. Teach how to memorize and cherish God’s word to your students, not by telling them to do such, but by memorizing and cherishing it yourself! A group will never exceed the level of their leader. Learn to cherish the bible of yourself and watch your group follow suite.
  2. A Real Love for People:  When you interact with students outside your cozy youth room, what example do you set for the teens watching your every move? Set the standard by loving the unlovable. Teach by example by genuinely being concerned for others and pushing your group to do the same.  How impactful would it be if while pumping gas in route on a youth trip, you took a teen aside gave them some money and told them to go inside the store and pay for the gas of that frazzled single mom on the next pump over? I feel confident saying, your leadership in that moment would permanently change that teenager! Take the lead! Really love people!
  3. Be Humble and Teachable:  Admit it! We aren’t perfect. When you mess up, the opportunity has arisen to show how a real follower of Christ owns up to their mistakes and makes biblical steps toward forgiveness and reconciliation.  By modeling humility and a teachable heart you will show a generation that is saturated with pride how a real Christians should act. These moments are not fun, but gain you great respect by responding in a mature and biblical manner. By living a life of humility you will earn the right to speak to teenagers in their moments of need.
  4. Have an Imitable Faith:  The way you handle your faith should be possible for teenagers to put into practice in their own lives. Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” As teens watch the way you live, do they see the fundamentals of faith in a way that makes it clear what they should be doing? Do they see you praying? Do they see you correctly handling the scripture? Do they see a love for talking about Jesus? Make your faith a model for them to follow! Don’t cheat them into thinking it’s about degrees on the wall or charisma on the stage? Not all people will have those. But all can love Jesus in a practical, everyday way. Are you and I showing that way?
  5. True Loyalty in a Fickle Generation:  Teenagers need to see stability modeled. In a culture with 50+% divorce rate sometime that is not seen at home. Be the model of how to love your spouse. Be the model on supporting your senior pastor. Remember (and use) a teenager’s name the next time you see them after their first visit. Show your group that some things are truly important in life and it goes way beyond your favorite sports team. Longevity in youth ministry is a rare thing. I’ve heard it said that the best ministry comes after 6 years. When every student in your ministry is a product of your teaching alone you will see the fruit of your labor! Hang in there. Be loyal to what God has called you to.

Praying you will teach these things and more to the teenagers in your area of influence.

Your fellow worker in the field,  Adam

Summer Camp Series: What Camp Does for a Student Ministry

First priority: remember why we are taking students to camp in the first place!

Youth Camp in my church has always been a very important event! Frankly, in my own experience as a youth pastor seeing what God has done in students’ lives at camp that led me to include youth camps as one of the key events of my annual calendar. In case you have not thought about this deeply for awhile, let me share my top four reasons for “pushing” camp with my students! As a youth minister camp is:

THE BEST WAY TO INTRODUCE LOST STUDENTS TO CHRIST: Camps provide a unique 5-day “window” in which unsaved young people can be exposed to the claims of Christ! Think of it! Where else can I get that amount of time in that kind of spiritual environment to “show” an unsaved student what it is like to be part of the eternal family of Christ? They are surrounded by His love, His people, His Word! Hey, they come for the friends, the girls and the sports and recreation, but they could leave with the best friend of all, Jesus Christ!

MY BEST SHOT AT STRENGTHENING CORE STUDENTS: Camps provide the best opportunity to deepen the spiritual walk of my “core students.” Teens are so distracted today with so many things tugging at their busy schedule! Camp is my best shot at getting their undistracted attention for at least a week! During camp, I spend time with my campers re-enforcing their love for Christ.

MY BEST (if not only) HOPE OF BUILDING UNITY: Camps do wonders for the unity of my student group!  Only mission trips exceed the bonding effect of camp, and it is usually more costly to get ALL my students to participate in a mission trip (plus the focus is on others’ needs, not our needs) so that leaves camp as my best opportunity to spend a week building the loyalty, togetherness, and focus of my ENTIRE youth group!


Camps help me focus my students both on their commitment to Christ AND on our purpose as a youth group…to glorify Christ by reaching our unsaved friends at school. It is my best time for my group to regain focus before school begins again and we are back into the heavy school-year schedule with plays, sports, clubs, etc. It is my favorite time to ask, “Okay gang, where are we going this year? What do we want Christ to do among us?”

Adapted from Roger Glidewell at Global Youth Ministry.