We have a problem in the church; an entire generation has learned about the Bible but didn't learn how to apply it. This is a problem because knowing about God is not the same as knowing God. The results are a generation walking away from their childhood faith.
Why is this important?
When Jesus told us to make disciples, He was clear: "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age" Matthew 28:19–20 (NLT).
The problem we face is that we are under the impression that, as Pastors, Youth Pastors, and Children Pastors, when we teach them "what" His commands are, they will "obey." A philosophical shift is needed from teaching people to know the Bible to teach people to live the Bible. We have to move from information teaching to application. This will lead to transformation as followers of Jesus. "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12:2)
Disciple all generations.
All age groups in the church need to learn how to apply the Bible to their lives. This will significantly impact the next generation and help reverse the trend of young people walking away from their faith. Not only do they need to be taught application, but they also need to see adults applying God's Word to their daily lives.
Our current model of doing church is to silo the generations for one hour a week and teach them about God. This model may have worked in the past. However, the statistics of the kids who grow up in the church and walk away from their faith show us it's time for a change. (According to a Barna study 64% of kids who grow up in the church have withdrawn from church involvement after having been active as a child or teen.)
The siloes model of kids going to kids classes and youth going to youth classes while the adults learn in an adult setting is understandable. After all, kids would be bored with adult teachings, and adults would be craving more from a kid's teaching.
So what's the solution?
We have a part of this model, right. We all learn best in age-appropriate environments. However, we must have unity in our teaching. The entire church learns the same Biblical principles while in their age-appropriate environments. This will involve parents more and equip them to disciple their kids throughout the week. This will help the kids to own their faith as Jesus followers and help them to challenge their parents in their journey. Creating unity in families, couples, friendships, and the entire church.
The church living out the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 2:1-2 "Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose." And yes, that includes the kids and youth!
Getting and keeping all generations on the same page Biblically each week is a big job. As Pastor, you are often just trying to get through the weekend. But, after you do, you realize that you'd better be getting ready for next week cause Sunday is always coming.
That's why One Voice exists. We are here to help you live out making disciples" successfully. We exist to help you and your church staff to "Teach these new disciples to obey" Jesus' commands. Don't go it alone. You don't expect your music team to go it alone. They don't write every song every week and arrange them by themselves. And yet, many pastors think they should have to do it all alone—an impossible task, especially when you are looking to unite your church under one biblical teaching but age-appropriate.