Updated: Nov 29, 2020
Over the last dozen or so years, I’ve met with many millennial young men who grew up in the church. Here’s the good news. Almost none have rejected Jesus. The bad news? Almost all are indifferent about the Bible and the Church. So, what do I do with that? Where do I start?
I have a simple rule to keep in mind when I begin working with non-Christians, or indifferent Christians.
Live the gospel and explain the gospel.
Live the Gospel Millennials are drawn to a worldview of life that works. They don’t want to simply believe a set of doctrines or commit themselves to a church. They want to know that a religion or worldview So, I tell them stories of men and women who lived out of their love for God and how it changed the lives of others. Young people long to be heroes and want to make a difference. Share your own story – how what you believe shapes how you make decisions. Tell stories of how your faith in God shapes your marriage, how you spend your money, and how you choose your friends. Tell stories of how following Jesus has cost you something – how it’s affected the lives of others because you want to be more like Jesus.The point of living the gospel is to move the good news of Jesus Christ off the pages of the Bible, into real life – your life.I tell them, “Jesus doesn’t want you to be religious.” When I make that statement, it surprises most young people, who equate following Jesus with being religious. “In fact,” I tell them, “the only people Jesus ever showed frustration and anger toward in the Bible were religious leaders!”Why do I tell them that? Because most millennials have zero interest in “religion.” In their mind, being religious means going to church, rule keeping, hypocracy, being a conservative Republican, and mindlessly thinking and doing what the church tells you or expects of you.We are Christ’s surrogates in this world! (I’ll explore this further, next Monday, and as we approach Father’s Day.)
Explain the Gospel But, it isn’t enough just to describe how the gospel is lived out. You will need to share with them how everyone enters the kingdom. What is required of every Christian to “join the team?”“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9,10Be prepared for some push back on the “arrogance” of believing there is only one way to God. You may want to read this blog I wrote to prepare you for that conversation. (http://bit.ly/MythsAboutGod)Don’t be argumentative on this question, but be quietly confident. I tell them, “I wish there were other ways to God. In so many ways, it would make talking to you about faith so much easier. But Jesus himself said this, “‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6So that verse leaves me with only four options:
Either Jesus was a liar, and in that case what else did he teach was a lie?
Jesus was delusional – he was crazy and thought he was the son of God, but in reality, wasn’t.
The writers of the Bible got Jesus’ quote wrong. But if that’s true, what other quotes or stories in the Bible did they get wrong?
Or, Jesus is who he said he was. And he is the only way to God.
By faith, I’ve chosen #4. And if you want your sins forgiven and be part of the family or God, you too will have to pledge your highest allegiance to Jesus Christ. There is no “Plan B.”
It’s at this point I can relax. It will be the Holy Spirit’s job to take what you’ve planted and to nurture this person to faith. Don’t expect that to happen over night. I often spend many months opening scriptures to the men I meet with. They know intuitively this commitment will change their lives. They’re counting the cost this decision will affect their sex life, choice of friends, everything! Give them time. In the meantime, continue to live out the gospel in front of them. Because, you may be the only true Christian they know.
How following Jesus works in real life.
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