It has been said that over 80 percent of North American Christians are biblically illiterate. Not that they cannot read the Bible, but that they choose not to. And biblical illiteracy is not settled with the younger generations alone. Every generation alive today is included.
Millennials and Generation Z (everyone born after 1982) are often categorized as rejecting Christianity. Yet, in fact, this is not true of most in those generations. What they do reject is a false representation of Christianity that has been portrayed by their parent’s generations.
Somewhere along the timeline post World War II, the church (the people of the church) began loosening the reins on biblical belief. This loosening began an ever-increasing moderation of what it means to live a Christian life. In the 1960s the Baby-boomer generation (my generation) acquired the nickname the “Me Generation”. There was a valid reason for this nickname thinking more of self than anyone else, which included family and God.
The increasing moderation of Christianity in America lived out by the Silent Generation (1927-1946), the Baby-Boomer generation (1946-1964) and Gen X (1965-1983) is sometimes rejected by younger generations due to its “me-isms”. While no more biblically literate than their previous generations, the younger ones are looking for a cause, a reason to get involved with something bigger than themselves.
Unfortunately, the Christian life lived out by most self-proclaimed Christians today, is not the same as what we read about in the Bible. But, hold on. Hope is not lost. As our hope is found in Christ and hope is a promise from God. There is in front of us an opportunity to redeem our generations.
We are living in a troubling, trying time which affords us opportunities to live as the early church lived in the book of Acts if only we redeem the time and practice true biblical discipleship.
May I suggest you begin by praying about your own life and how it needs to change to reflect the desire of Christ as lived out through the book of Acts. Then search some relevant disciple-making resources to assist you in your growth and your church in becoming a true disciple-making, Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) church.
Like anything, check references on Discipleship resources. Discipleship resources have been around a long time, yet our lifestyles show that not all of them grow true Disciples of Jesus Christ.
Here are three that I know or have been recommended to me by others:
PassionTree.org, a network for Disciple-Making Pastors.
Discipleship.org, online resources equipping & leading
Real Life Ministries, training and resources
Discipleship is a life-long process. There is plenty of material and curriculum aimed at Discipleship. While some of these are good, printed material does not make a Disciple. Discipleship is practiced in daily living as Jesus lived it with His Disciples recorded in the New Testament. Don’t rely solely on the printed resources of the day. Will you take the challenge to find a true biblically-based discipleship process, commit your life to grow, not in American Christianity, but in the true likeness of Christ, and lead others in doing the same?
George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.