One of the most important questions facing the church is “How do we reach the next generation for Christ?”
Part 1: We have to acknowledge the changing religious landscape and allow that knowledge to motivate us to action.
Evangelical churches are doing better than mainline and Catholic churches but even the evangelical churches are affected. America’s religious landscape is beginning to look more and more like Europe. Let’s look at atheism in Europe.
How high can atheism in America rise?
- Polls in the United Kingdom show that 30-40% of people do not believe in God but only 8% self-identify as confirmed atheist.
- In Sweden 23% do not believe in “any sort of spirit, God or life force.”
- In The Netherlands, 25% of people are atheists and 31% are agnostic.
- In France 33% are atheist and 14% agnostic.
This is not the future we want for America. I’m not giving you these statistics to discourage you but to encourage you that we need to a new national effort to prepare the way for the gospel. God sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus and Jesus praised his effort saying “the fields are ripe for harvest.” The field is not ripe for harvest today and the soil is getting harder and harder to plant. So we need an army of believers to work together to prepare for revival.
The key issues are the next generation is deeply affected by the skepticism in our culture and the university. University students often believe Christianity is not intellectually viable and that science has disproven the Bible. We have to address this issue in order for faith in Christ to be reasonable. Other intellectual and moral doubts must also be addressed.
Part 2: We need a national effort to target the next generation to prepare the way for the gospel (pre-evangelism). What does this entail?
- Prayer for university students and faculty
- New cooperative strategy on a national scale (we can’t only do the things that aren’t working)
- Use proven tools and methods to show that belief in God and the Bible is compatible with science and reasonable in our modern age
- Show that Christianity is also a force for good in the world
- Display a loving and cooperative community of believers
Factbridge has developed (and is developing) pre-evangelistic campaigns for the university campus. This will include but is not limited to:
- Training churches how to be a good partner with campus ministries like Cru, Intervarsity and Navigators (these ministries do a great job but could do so much more if they had additional volunteers and resources)
- Training Christian students how to conduct surveys and give away booklets like “Why Three Brilliant Atheists Became Christians”
- Bringing apologetic speakers to the university, speakers like William Lane Craig, Hugh Ross, Ravi Zacharias, Frank Turek and Josh McDowell
Our goal is to create a buzz on campus about the intellectual rigor and evidence for the Christian faith so students and faculty are more open to the gospel. We want to distribute thousands of booklets equal to 25% of the student population. We want to do this year after year (while rotating the four booklets we will be distributing). We want pastors and churches to be involved in this important effort. We want university students to feel valued and loved. We want to embolden Christian professors on campus so they speak out regarding the evidence for Christ more often.
Because America has almost 20 million full-time undergraduate and graduate students, we want to distribute about five million booklets every year on university campuses.
We’re looking for volunteers to join with us in this national effort. We’re looking for pastors who want to reach a university campus near their church. We’re looking for active laymen who will volunteer even if the pastor is too busy to get involved.
If you’re excited about reaching the next generation for Christ and you are interested in partnering with Factbridge, please send me a personal email letting me know. We will begin our planning for the next school year very soon. I’m very excited about what God is doing and want you to be part of this great journey!