In our churches, we often hear that youth are the future, and so we should focus our activities toward them. This is, of course, true. For example, in Palestine, those in the age group 15–29 are 30 percent of the population, and in Israel, people between the ages of 15 and 25 comprise 15 percent of its citizens.
How do we invest in them? How do we address them? In our churches, we spend a good deal of time strategizing this, but I also believe that youth need to appreciate the spirit of the church before any investment in them will make a difference. What is such a spirit?
This generation of youth in my country, and probably in most countries of the world, was born in a more prosperous time than the generations preceding it. It is also a generation that was raised with busy parents, in their careers and in the distractions of modern life, while also valuing the need for their children’s academic success. This generation is exposed, in an unprecedented manner, to what is happening in the world, and it interacts with others through social media and the internet at a speed and with an ease that earlier generations could not have fathomed.
Generally, the profile of today’s young man or woman is alert, informed, lacking in personal interaction with busy parents, interested in academic success, using modern technology, and closely connected with friends through various devices.
Therefore, if the church wishes to reach out to this generation, and it is compelled to do so if it wants to continue to live, then it must ensure a special environment for youth without compromising its beliefs. Youth will be attracted to the church only if they find there what will fulfill their needs.
Churches should be real in their communications, without hypocrisy or double standards. Youth are idealistic and search for authenticity and despise the fake ways of the world. They look for principles at work. Jesus’s principles in the Sermon of the Mount (Matthew 5–7) appeal to them. They demand harmony between doctrine and behavior. According to them, church life has to be comprehensive and holistic.
This generation also looks for a church in which they can find love and real care. They need consideration and a desire from others to know their circumstances—someone to understand their challenges even if they seem odd. They ask for equal terms and criticize what they see as over-superiority. This requires openness to study the needs of young people today without stereotyping and without settling for outdated answers. To respond to life’s questions in Bible-based logic, one must have a wide knowledge of the existing culture.
Young people also desire a social, practical implementation for their faith through and with the blessing of the church. Issues of justice, mercy, and social change are paramount. They see these as part of a holistic faith. Since they are so tightly connected to their peers, they seek an external expression of their faith that will have a positive impact for the wider community.
May the Lord help us to bring a unique understanding of church and mission so that we can reach out to this important generation for a blessed future
You can pre-order the book that is supposed to released in mid-January 2021 from now in Amazon: