If I were a senior pastor I would print the following list of questions, and I would take it to staff meeting for discussion. I would expect discussion to involve everyone. For example, I would expect those in ministry with children to consider how 12 years in their program will address question #1. I would expect those in adult ministry to have much to say about questions #7-9. I would expect those who lead senior adult ministry to address question #10 with creativity. And of course, I would keep the youth pastor at the heart of all the conversations.
The future of the American church is closely tied to the ways that 400,000 congregations address (or fail to address) the following questions.
- When and how will we shift the focus of teenagers from “It’s all about me” (moralistic therapeutic deism) to “I love God with all my being, and I exist for His eternal glory”?
- When and how will we prepare teenagers to invite the glorious King of kings to live His righteous life through them daily, in the power of the Spirit, to see Christ’s kingdom come on earth, for the glory of God?
- When and how will we prepare teenagers to take responsibility for their own spiritual lives, including teaching them how to pray, how to do sound study of Scripture on their own, how to share the Gospel, and how to refine their biblical worldview?
- When and how will we lead teenagers to embrace total-life purity in private moments, in relationships, in gender roles, and in marriage—for the glory of Christ?
- When and how will we give teenagers a heart for the nations and a deep desire to see the Gospel reach the last groups of people on earth—as well as those close by?
- When and how will we lead teenagers make personal sacrifices in order to demonstrate practical compassion toward those in need—in the name of Jesus Christ?
- When and how will we provide experiences that train parents how to repair or deepen relational heart connections with their teenagers—knowing that heart connections are the conduit for spiritual impact?
- When and how will we teach and demonstrate for parents how to spiritually lead in their homes—as we champion parents taking their rightful roles as primary spiritual leaders?
- When and how will we provide experiences that lead to spiritual transformation and awakening in the lives of youth ministry volunteers—so that can flow to the teenagers with whom they share life-on-life discipling relationships?
- When and how will we lead teenagers to be connected to the entire congregation, to experience church in a rich web of intergenerational relationships, to take church leadership roles, and thus to value the church for a lifetime?