Old evangelists and the millennial generation do not seem to mix. The challenge is not even that people lack connection with some of these historical figures, but it is they do not know the names in the first place.
Millennials are known for the social justice movement and meeting people where they are. They break the norms of the Boomer generation Sunday church traditions. Revival tent meetings and gospel tracts are not the way they would think to do evangelism.This does not mean one generation is right or better, but it illustrates the challenges we face as we seek to learn to do life as Christians well together.
So why should an evangelist like D.L. Moody matter to millennials?
Even if his methods are not the tools they would employ, his ultimate mission and focus are very similar to the themes of Christian millennials today. D.L. Moody was all about interrupting the status quo.
In his day and age, religion was beginning to be considered stale or overly formal. He broke the traditions by bringing in all people. In his Chicago ministry, there are many stories of how he brought in street children, went to the docks to witness to sailors and laboring men. He was passionate to serve well and bring the love of God, no matter his limitations.
Studies show that Christian millennials actually are more likely to evangelize than other generations. It looks different than other generations though, and that is some of the reason why studies still show that millennials are leaving churches. They are going out and doing things differently.
Moody did the same thing; he went out and met a need, and not everyone understood this approach. When one generation or even a particular group is set in doing things a certain way, it is easy to take offense or question this new idea.
There are two key lessons here:
#1: Keep going forward.
There are many young Christians who have a big passion and vision, but they stop because of discouragement or fear. In today’s culture, with the overwhelming flood of information and voices that all attempt to critique every move, it is easy to become stuck or feel shut down.
Moody went all in with his mission, because Christ was his cause. He did not wait on people’s approval but simply sprung to action. Invest wisely, but do not give up on that to which God has called you.
#2: Do all you can to learn from the past.
Gain truth from your elders, as Moody did from those who invested in him. God is a creative whose works span many generations! Look at all the lessons from the past He taught His followers and how they were able to interpret and use it in a new manner. We need to end this quiet war between generations. Each has its difference, and the only way the cause of Christ succeeds is if we build trust.
We learn history so we can make history.
Gain more inspiration at www.facebook.com/TheMoodyCenter