Dear Peddie Church Family,
We at Peddie Church are blessed with many children, youth, and young adults. They are not merely the future of the church; they are already the church, along with the older generation. The church is the family of God, and as a family, we are both the old and the young. We celebrate the rich heritage we’ve inherited from the cloud of witnesses, and we press on toward a greater future by making disciples of the next generation.
As we press on forward, we do face challenges. It is no secret that many churches are struggling to reach out to the next generation. Many congregations in Newark are showing signs of aging. We are also facing this reality today at Peddie Church.
I am confident, however, that God will empower us to reach out to the next generation as we focus on two areas.
First, just as the children of Issachar (1Chr 12:32), we need to understand the times. The world we live in is a different place from that of a generation ago. The youth today are exposed to social ills at much younger ages through the social media and the internet. Starting from tender ages, they face enormous pressures to conform to their media-saturated peers.
Moreover, the secularization of higher education is virtually complete. The reigning philosophies on college campuses today are naturalism, relativism, and self-gratification, and they have increasingly become intellectually intolerant. It’s intimidating to speak up for biblical teachings in such a hostile environment, and many will resign themselves to conform, rather than to face marginalization, ridicule, and intellectual bullying. We need to understand the times.
Second, we need to provide a safe space for the next generation to engage the questions that arise from their daily challenges and help them search for answers from the Bible. Understanding does not happen by telling them to believe certain doctrines, but by reasoning together with open minds and sincere intentions to know God.
As we address these questions, it will not be long before the young people realize the utter emptiness of secular philosophies and encounter the beauty and glory of the Gospel. With persistent prayers of the parents and the congregation, they will come to know that Jesus Christ is the only explanation that has the power to make sense of the world and the only Person who can satisfy their deepest longing – their longing for love.
In the coming weeks and months, we will be praying and listening for God’s guidance as we seek to invest faithfully in the next generation. I would appreciate your prayers so that God’s will be done through this process.
In the service of Christ,
– Pastor James