Not too long ago, I was in a discussion with a woman who shared with me about talking with a teenager in a major city in the U.S. who had never heard the name Jesus!
Can you imagine a child growing up in Canada or the U.S. and never hearing the name of Jesus? How many children and teenagers live or attend school within one mile of your church? How many of those children and youth are unchurched and do not know about Jesus? Yet, Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.”
We live in a time when our children and youth (even in the Church) are missing out on the greatest story in human history. Rather than hearing about Jesus, these young people are being inculturated with ungodly and unbiblical attitudes and behaviors. Their childhood is being taken from them by the fracturing of the family, their exposure to sin through television and the internet, and the lack of moral teaching and discipline in their schools. The “innocence of childhood” is quickly becoming a faint legend from the past.
What are we followers of Jesus to do about this? What can we do about this?
First, pray. Ask God to intervene and help you reach the children in your neighborhood and community (Lk.10:2). Second, make disciples of your children and your youth “teaching them to observe all that he has commanded you” (Mt.28:20). Third, equip the parents and families in your congregation and community with teaching and resources on how to parent, disciple their children, and model godly parenting. Fourth, creatively reach out to the children and teenagers in your neighborhood and schools.
On a Provincial level, it is time to invest in staffing and resources to better assist dioceses and parishes to reach the children and teens in their communities. Somehow, someway, we as a Province need to be equipping our people to minister to the teenagers and children in our communities. Will you join me in praying that the Lord will provide the people and resources to do this?
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America
Photo: Archbishop Beach speaking at New Wineskins Conference in North Carolina