“This generation wants meat. They are tired of silly events that have a little Scripture thrown in, or events where junk food is served up large and the Bible doesn’t make the menu. ”

Alvin Reid is one of my favorite thinkers, especially where it comes to young adults.  He’s been looking at the spiritual landscape and calls today’s rising young adults “A Generation of Carnivores.”  They migrate to and fill a church where the pastor will “teach the Bible verse by verse, sometimes an hour or more weekly.”  It takes some preparation and presentation, but they will respond.

Not so, he says, the older generations.  We’ve trained them to need “dumbed-down” sermons” of spiritual milk.  But if you do that, you can grow a crowd without growing a church. It will  take staff and effort but have no base, and very few committed tithers.  Those kinds of members “donate” a little time and money to the cause-of-the-month, but have no staying power.  We know that won’t work to sustain your church long-term.

There is a younger generation of believers who are tired of “do the minimum” Christianity. They want it straight, they want it real, and they want it now. If you teach the Bible, and if young adults you teach sense you genuiely love them and love Jesus, you can get right in their grills. In fact, you must. If however they perceive you as a smart aleck, or you stereotype them to the extreme, you will lose them. And you will never have a chance with unchurched  young adults.

Do this and live.

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Dr Alvin Reid is Professor of Evangelism at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, author and frequent speaker at youth events.

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I read a post a couple of weeks ago suggesting we walk into church expecting a miracle.  That part I agree with.  The second half of the statement suggested that if a miracle doesn’t show, then something is wrong in our preparation.

I lead worship expecting a miracle, a holy fire to come from heaven and empower us all for great work.  But if the service ends without an outpouring of converts, it’s not necessarily a sign of the lack of God’s presence.

I’m not talking to you who are not doing what you can to be ready.  Evangelist Alvin Reid recently quoted a statistic that 54% of pastors had not shared their faith in the past six months, and only 21% of active church members invite anyone to church in a year, only 2% invite an unchurched person.  As my uncle used to tell me about gardening, it won’t grow if you don’t plant the seed.

The passage I look to is the life of Elijah, one of the greatest prophets in the Bible.  Of his whole life, barely a dozen days get mentioned.  There are long stretches of no word from him. Three years with the widow waiting on God to say “go.”  If God’s timing is for my congregation to wait, and I’m actively waiting, planting and watering, weeding and pruning, then the harvest will come in its season.

It just won’t be harvest every week, all year long.

I follow the tweets and posts of Dr Alvin Reid, a professor at Southeastern Baptist Seminary and tireless advocate of youth evangelism.  It was he who taught (in a guest sermon and  then in the book I bought) that we who expect our students to be geniuses in school and supermen on the athletic field, ought to hold similar expectations of them as thoroughly-equipped mature believers before they leave high school.  (Set the standard high and watch them surpass it!)

So when I heard he had a new e-book out called advance, I went there immediately and began reading.  It’s only 48 pages and easy to read.

on pages 14 and 15, Dr Reid quotes Steve Addison in describing a christian movement.  Addison says each one has 5 essential characteristics:

1. White-hot faith: “Missionary movements begin with men and women who encounter the living God and surrender in loving obedience to His call.”
2. Commitment to a cause: A commitment to the cause of Christ and His gospel leads people to become “fearless and uncompromising agents of transformation in this world.”
3. Contagious relationships: A missionary movement will be “at home in the existing culture and yet radically distinct from it.” Movements spread quickly “through preexisting networks of relationships.”
4.  Rapid mobilization: Missionary movements that spread rapidly are not “centrally planned, funded, or controlled.” I would add this is why young people have been so instrumental in the spread of gospel movements. They do not need tremendous structure; they need a cause and a direction and then to be released.
5. Adaptive methods: From Patrick of Ireland to today, methods change even though the gospel never changes. “The forms changed to fit the context and to serve the needs of an expanding movement while the unchanging gospel remained at the center of the movement.”

Reid reminds us that our participation does not require a seminary degree or even an appointed position in the church.  Instead it is all about putting yourself in the middle of God’s will and adopting the posture of a missionary wherever  you find yourself living.

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Download your own copy of Dr Reid’s book here.

Steve Addison’s book is titled  Movements That Change the World.  (Smyrna, DE:Missionary Press, 2009)