For many of you reading this, you may hear the phrase “The Next Generation” and roll your eyes. You might immediately begin to think about Millennials, Gen Z, or any number of negative thoughts (Ok, Boomer). In some ways, I can’t blame you. We see a lot of stuff on television and online that doesn’t give us a lot of hope in them (sometimes). But have you ever taken the time to think about what older generations may have said or thought about you when you were growing up?
Where would you be without the men and women in your life who saw glimpses of your potential, prayed for you, and invested in your life? It’s very likely you wouldn’t be where you are today without an adult seeing more in you than you saw in yourself. We have all been “NextGen” at some point in our life.
“NextGen” is a shortened version of “Next Generation.” A lot of churches describe this as young people from cradle to college. It’s inclusive of every person who falls into that demographic. “NextGen” does not in any way refer to a single leader or ministry area, but an age group of young people, who are literally the next, or upcoming, generation.
NextGen, to me, is more than just a cute new name for the ministry happening through our faith community at Hope. Here is what NextGen means to me and why I think it’s a big deal to Hope:
NextGen Ministry is future-minded.
Think about it this way. If you are taking a road trip and your end goal isn’t planned out, things are going to be pretty messy. Yes, it’s great to pay attention to the stops you’ll make along the way, but without a final destination, all is lost.
Ministry to young people is the same. Young people at every age will benefit from our consideration of their future with respect to where they’re coming from. If our NextGen ministry can communicate clearly what an 18-year-old should know about their faith in Christ when they leave our ‘nest,’ then it gives us better direction in each stage of their life.
We’re preparing babies to be toddlers and eighth graders to be freshmen and college seniors to graduate, and everything in between. Our NextGen’s job and desire is to help you, as parents, do this together for your kids. That leads me to my next point.
NextGen Ministry is collaborative.
When ministry leaders and volunteers are working together with parents to prepare the next generation for their next step, there is no choice but to collaborate. This collaboration requires a ton of intentionality on our part. But naturally, it helps us better communicate and understand each other better. Everyone benefits from this. Parents, ministry leaders, and volunteers will begin to feel less isolation and loneliness when we work together. Let’s be honest, raising the next generation isn’t for the weak of heart. We need each other!
It is our hope to partner with parents in leading our next generation of young people toward a closer walk with Jesus. When we look at this NextGen, let’s remember, we aren’t raising kids; we’re raising adults. Our NextGen team is looking forward to coming alongside the families that call Hope their home!
Shane P Friesen
Middle School Connoisseur