Ron Luce has a passion to reach the next generation with the gospel. He has translated his years of experience with teens and international missions to his current ministry, Generation Next, which seeks to help global leaders engage the youth of the world.
Luce says that, although there's not a "copy and paste" way to reach youth, there are some best practices for reaching the next generation. These apply in any situation but must first be melded with a church's DNA as well as the culture of a city, town or region.
The first key, Luce says, is that the senior pastor must "own the strategy to go after the next generation—he can't subcontract out to a youth pastor." He compares the senior pastor or leader's role to that of a CEO who isn't "young and cool" but "has a lot of cool people who work for him."
Luce sees this role as that of a strategist, comparing it to that of King David, who said, "Now also when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I have proclaimed your strength to this generation" (Ps. 71:18a). "It doesn't matter how old we are, our job is to make it—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob—a generation-to-generation faith."
The second key, Luce says, is to focus on what he calls "the exchange zone." "If you think about an exchange zone in a relay race, you can't pass the baton before or after, only in the exchange zone. So think about who's in the exchange zone, those most likely to receive Christ in your hometown, the 13-to-19-year-olds. And really scientifically, just like if you were starting a business, you can't go after every customer; you have to go after the most probable customers."
Luce says Jesus did the same thing: He prioritized. "He spent more time with the 70 than the crowds, more time with the 12 than the 70, more time with the three than the 12, based on receptivity. So we must teach them how to find those people, how to prioritize them."
Another key is true discipleship. "We don't really know what that means in America," Luce says. "I don't think it's the four classes you take after you get saved, but rather than a lifelong falling in love, becoming more like Jesus every day for the rest of your life—and getting them on that quest very young."
But the final key, Luce says, is the most important of all, and it's the one we often lack. To hear his final key and many other truths about reaching the next generation with the gospel, listen to this entire episode of the Strang Report podcast here, and subscribe to the Strang Report on Apple podcasts or your favorite podcast platform.
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