Evangelism is a key area of focus for The Moody Center. As we research further, it is clear this can be a touchy subject. There are very traditional models of evangelism- tent gatherings, tracts, traveling preachers, etc. Yet the Millennial and Gen Z generations tend to do things very differently. They are passionate about service, addressing social justice, and getting into real life with people. These differences continue to create tension; a simple online search will reveal many studies and conversations occurring with either side critiquing the other.
Well, who is getting it right?
Truth is, neither side is fully right or fully wrong. The different life experiences provide valuable perspectives. Unfortunately, we are wasting precious time and resources by criticizing either side. You can find statistics that say Millennials are leaving the church in droves and are a lost cause, but there are studies that show a great vibrancy from them as well- they are more likely to study the Bible and to evangelize. They do church differently than past generations, and statistics do not show that full story.
The test of the Church and its growth really will be if we can move forward with the Gospel, rather than being hung up on these issues that truly do not affect sharing the gospel. Go have a tent meeting. Be a traveling pastor. Start a social justice organization. Spend a year traveling the world to minister to the un-reached. At the end of the day, God cares more about what we did than the self-righteousness of our hearts that we “got it right” more than others.
How do we move to action?
Millennials have a way of bringing the gospel by introducing people to Jesus through the way they live and create conversation. Of course, loving like Jesus in itself is not enough. People can experience the heart of the gospel through this approach, but eventually is must be followed through with solid truth and challenging non-believers to acknowledge their need for a Savior.
So I challenge older generations to step up to the plate and provide mentorship and training to Millennials and Generation Z. Give them truth to share. Lend to them the wisdom of your life experience, so they can find boldness when they have to challenge people and speak the explicit Gospel.
And the key point is then you must release control. You cannot always tell people then what to do with your training and truths. That is God’s job as the Holy Spirit to lead and convict. People might do things differently than you would have, but that does not always mean it is wrong.
Millennials and Generation Z, the challenge to you is to be humble and find your source of strength in God. Doing things differently than other generations is not something to pride yourself in or fault others for their failings. Dig into God’s truth to ground your actions. God has blessed many with passions, but they must center upon Him or they quickly become idols or ways to appear better than others. Be humble enough to admit you do not have all the answers. It is a good thing to not know, because it means you have the opportunity to grow.
The heart of the gospel
It saddens me when the Church has become more obsessed with statistics and who is doing what better than someone else. The entire point of sharing the gospel is to live selflessly, to view others as so sacred to God’s heart that we must do everything in our power to reach them. Let us confess our sin and ask God to bring us back to His heart.
The Church is a body, and that means we need every part. Every person provides a unique element. We need each other, and we all are on the same team- for God’s Kingdom. The Gospel still is true and that means our call to share it, no matter the method, still stands. When we get to heaven, we will be accountable for what we did with our time, not how correct we were.