Priorities of Ministry and the Next Generation
When churches are looking and interviewing prospects to serve as Pastor, they often want to know something about their ministerial priorities: and rightly so. If a man cannot articulate his vision and how he hopes to accomplish it, what business does he have leading the people of God? Pastoral ministry requires direction and focus.
But what should be the priorities of church ministry? Or, more specifically, where does a vision for the next generation fit among the priorities of church ministry? Most of us are familiar with what have traditionally been the “the big three”: baptisms, budgets, and buildings. Success in ministry is often gauged by these things.
But while we have measured the success of the church in more immediate terms, we have often forgotten or ignored the future of the church or been guilty of poor investing. It has been mistakenly assumed that a successful youth group will lead to a new generation of church leaders and faithful Christian fathers and mothers. But the evidence tells us otherwise. The twentieth century witnessed the rise of youth ministry. But it did not witness the end of youth washout or nominal church membership.
We cannot guarantee that all of our children will faithfully follow Christ. But we can make a wise Biblical investment that will affect the next generation for Christ. That investment is in the the fathers of the next generation. Pastors cannot afford to assume that the men under their care are doing alright. They need to be discipled in the essential Biblical elements of being a godly husband and father. This assumes that the Pastor is also mentoring men in personal discipleship and is a model as a churchman, husband, and father. Ideally the church will be served by more than one pastor, so that one man does not have to shoulder this burden alone. Investment in men, in particular fathers and husbands, may seem slow and futile, but the investment pays long-term dividends for the Gospel and the future of the church. It is absolutely necessary if we are to change the next generation for Christ.
For God’s kingdom and glory,