I’ve just finished a week of preaching at Highland Lakes Camp in Texas. Wow – what a week! I knew it was going to be a big “God week” when, during the first night of worship, more than 500 teens made life-changing decisions for Jesus Christ. From that night on, it was obvious that God was speaking and all of us were listening. [Jeffrey Dean is a nation-wide Christian speaker to youth, parents, families, and churches.]
Throughout the week we studied the New Testament stories of Jesus – His miraculous virgin birth; Jesus’ earthly father Joseph and his response as a “righteous man” to the news that his new young and yet-to-be consummated bride, Mary, was pregnant; Jesus and the woman at the well; Jesus’ prayer life; the impact Jesus had on the servant of the high priest whose ear was severed from his body while Jesus was arrested; Jesus offering forgiveness to those who crucified Him; the criminal Jesus saved while both hung on the cross; Jesus’ final challenge to all Christ-followers in Matthew 28, and so much more!
It is safe to say many of us at camp this week feel as though we have been on a weeklong trip with the Savior of the world. And, we are all the better for it. In 21 years of ministry, I’ve never felt so close to Christ as I have this week. Opening the Word with 900+ students and adults with the sole purpose of learning how to know Christ more has been a supernatural experience for me that I won’t soon forget.
Watching a mostly millennial crowd come into worship twice a day, for an entire week, with eager anticipation to know Jesus more was a breath of fresh air for me personally. I say that because, being fully honest, I admit that for the past year I have been disappointed and disheartened with this generation. I’ve spoken at more than 60 teen events this year and have left many of these events saddened over the spirit of spiritual apathy I have sensed across our country. I have seen the evidence this year of that which Jesus warned in John 10:10 when He said that the “thief has come to steal, kill and destroy.” I have truly been wondering if we were at a point of no-return with millennials who as a whole, are not only lacking knowledge of the Word, but are also mostly void of any desire to know the Word and its power in their lives.
This week I spoke personally with many teens and college students hungry for the Word. I counseled with an atheist at the beginning of the week who gave her life to Christ last night. I prayed with both guys and girls who were struggling with pornography, cutting, eating disorders, sex, anger, apathy and more. In every conversation, I wasn’t met with resentfulness, bitterness or rage. Instead, each teen longed to be set free and to know how to find hope in God’s Word. I spoke with a college student who said, “For the first time in a long time, I want to be more like Christ. I want to live as he lived and I know the key for me to be such a man is to be in the Word and to know Christ more.”
For anyone who works with millennials or has a millennial living under your roof, I want to encourage you to press on and to be diligent in your work as a parent, pastor, teacher or friend to this generation. If Satan has been lying to you, as he has lately to me, and convincing you that this generation is “too far gone,” rebuke him! Tell him “you are wrong Satan! God has more work to do, and is going to use this generation to do His work for His glory!”
I believe this to be true.
God is raising up this generation to be a force for truth to this world. God is equipping millennials to stand fearlessly for Him in our nation’s schools, churches, homes, businesses and throughout the cyber world. For those of us who have their listening ears, now is not the time to conform to the world’s way, merely believing we are to be nothing more than a voice that “gives their itching ears what they long to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3)
Instead, we are to be a voice of truth, power, compassion, and conviction as we challenge them to become all God created them to be in this life. Millennials have a unique position unlike any previous generation, with their reach to connect to the lost literally around the world via the web and social media.
I am convinced they want to be challenged. So, let’s challenge them. Not entertain them; not try to win them over; not try to be like them; and not try to manipulate them. They are counting on us. It’s hard work. But let’s keep working hard to teach millennials to work hard to use their gifts, convictions, and positions to light the way for generations to come.
[Jeffrey Dean is one of the top motivational speakers in the country. He has spoken to over 4 million throughout the United Staes, Mexico, Panama, Canada, Haiti, and Guatemala. Jeffrey Dean has extensive experience powerfully affecting the lives of Christians. Do you need a Christian speaker for an event? Contact us to schedule your next church or other event…]