Explore The Bible Study: God Commissions

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Who helped you learn how to do your first job? Helping people learn a new job is vital to their success. Equally, helping a new generation of believers “learn their job” is important. LifeWay's Explore the Bible Study: God Commissions, looks at the importance of investing in the next generation as we look at the relationship between Moses and Joshua from Numbers 27:12-23.

Moses was about to die, and he desired for Israel to have a strong leader to take his place. He appealed to God to choose that leader. God chose someone in whom Moses had invested for many years. His name was Joshua. This choice was not a spur of the moment decision. God had led Moses to invest in him over a long period of time, and now, it was time for Joshua to step into a more significant and vital leadership role.

As you study this passage with your group, consider how you and your group are investing in the younger generation of believers. Lead the group to evaluate their attitude toward other generations of believers and the time they are taking to invest in lives. This includes younger believers in the church as well as those in our homes.

So how are we doing in investing in the next generation? 
Here are excerpts from an article by Tessa Landrum, a senior at Cedarville University in Ohio, regarding our next generation who are now reaching adulthood, Generation Z, born anywhere between 1995 and 2015. It gives a snapshot of the urgency we should feel regarding investing in the faith of future generations in this country:

“The oldest members of Generation Z are entering their twenties and stepping into either the workforce or the world of higher education. And they will change the landscape of our society with their ideas and values – many of which omit the idea of Christian faith and the prospect of church membership.

James White, in his groundbreaking book Meet Generation Z, notes “the most defining mark of members of Generation Z, in terms of their spiritual lives, is their spiritual illiteracy…They do not know what the Bible says. They do not know the basics of Christian belief or theology. They do not know what the cross is all about. They do not know what it means to worship.”

This knowledge gap is the result of a massive cultural value shift from the sacred to the secular, and it has led to increasing numbers of students abandoning their faith and losing interest in the church. . . The Barna Group characterizes Gen Z as the “first truly ‘post Christian’ generation,” with only 4% adhering to a Biblical worldview.

As a result, scriptural authority has come under fire and fewer teenagers are trusting what the Bible has to say about contemporary issues. Sean McDowell and J. Warner Wallace, both prolific apologists, observe that “young people today have grown up in a culture that places the individual as the highest authority. . . Moral relativism has been noted as one of the defining trademarks of Gen Z . . . Of churchgoing Gen Z members, 82% consider church to be “a place to find answers to live a meaningful life” that is “relevant to my life.”

In light of large bodies of research, it appears that Generation Z doesn’t really know what to believe or why to believe it.

I am a member of Generation Z, and I have seen firsthand the loneliness, passion, and confusion of my peers. . . so many of us are ill-equipped to step into a post-Christian culture. With little knowledge of Scripture or orthodox Christian doctrine, many quickly fall away into apostasy, unbelief, or apathy. Those who remain, struggle to cultivate a shallow faith based upon fun activities and a misunderstanding of what the Bible really teaches.

If the church desires to reclaim Gen Z and reintegrate them into the Body of Christ, then we must educate our children and youth. We must actively seek out the lost and meet them where they are with their questions and concerns. If we remain silent, these trends toward atheism and spiritual illiteracy will continue to grow – and our culture will complete the shift from sacred to secular until Christian thought is no more than a trivial relic of an intolerant, uneducated past.

(Source: http://kentuckytoday.com/stories/gen-z-is-spiritually-illiterate-and-abandoning-the-church-how-did-we-get-here,23397)

Closing with a Challenge
Most people realize that we should be investing in the next generation by the way we lead in our homes and in our churches. Yet, for some reason we don’t do it as we should. We use excuses like: “It’s easier to do it myself,” “I don’t have time,” They don’t want me to help them,” or possibly, “I feel threatened by them.”

Investing in others can be messy. It takes time and patience and the letting go of pride.

While many have been immersed in the petty debate regarding the preferences of millennials, generation X'ers, and baby boomers, perhaps we have lost sight of the next generation in the church.

However, there is no greater joy than seeing someone reach his or her potential as a believer and we can change how we help build up another generation of Joshuas who can lead their homes and churches in the future.

Consider challenging your group with these actions.
  • Are you willing to invest in younger believers so they can grow in their faith and become successful leaders in their homes, workplaces, and churches? What actions can you take to help younger or new Christians grow into spiritually mature Christian leaders?
  • Perhaps you are a young believer. Are you willing to let others invest in you so you can grow in your faith and become a successful leader in your home, workplace, and church? What do you need to do in order to learn from those who are older in their faith?
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