Sunday, October 19, 2008

Inter-Generational IS Cross-Cultural

While teaching missions in APTS, I have been developing a model for missions that includes more than just the traditional "horizontal" and "synchronic" understanding. We often think of missions in terms of how "far" and "wide" we can spread the Gospel. We also talk about being responsible for reaching only our generation. That limits our vision of missions in spatial terms. What about the "vertical" side of missions? How about thinking of missions beyond the "foreign" and "home" missions categories? Can we not talk about missions in "diachronic," "inter-generational" terms?

I think we must give serious thought to reaching the next generation for the Lord. Youth ministry should not be merely a department in the church to be handled by a younger minister. It should be a crucial missionary enterprise for the church. In fact, every parent in church should be taught to think of himself/herself as a missionary, reaching into an unfamiliar culture (which is what youth culture is to many of us!!). Just as a missionary needs to be trained to contextualize for the target culture, we all need to contextualize to reach the next generation - raising godly off-springs for the Lord.

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