We asked a group of student ministry workers in South Africa to share how they believe we can reach the next generation with the Gospel. All of them agreed that the first step is to tell a better story than the alternatives people are listening to. However, some typical obstacles tend to arise.
Reaching the Next Generation with the Gospel
Listen to Ryan van der Avoort and Cameron Shabangu as they reflect on what approaches they take to reach the next generation by telling a better story.
Obstacle #1: Christianity is a White Man’s Religion
Ryan: “One of the things that we face on the campus is, in Kwa Zulu Natal, is there are certain blockages to people hearing that story. Very common, on campus, we hear expressed “Christianity is a white person’s religion. A white man’s religion.” And so people are thinking that and they are going “yah, so I don’t wanna hear anything about Christianity because I’m a Zulu guy.” Or, you know, “I’m from Eswatini” or something like that, “and I have no desire to hear that because this is what I believe.”
It’s in dealing with the blockage that they have to hearing the good news that you can talk about what is good.
And so we have opportunities to engage that and to go “Ah, OK. So why don’t we look at the origins of Christianity? Why don’t we look at the middle section? And why don’t we look at the present. And actually very quickly you will see in no way is it a white man’s religion.” It’s in dealing with the blockage that they have to hearing the good news that actually you can talk about what is good. By which I mean God’s story of how He is working in our world.”
Obstacle #2: How do I fit in?
Cameron: “But that is pretty much the story of Christianity – that all of creation is God’s story. The reality of God and what He has done throughout history has an implication on the way that we live our lives. I mean essentially, it all boils down to that!
All of life can be explained in Gods story. And we fit in in that narrative. So that’s where we really try to point people to. That actually we should view ourselves and each other not from the lens of… not even our past, but through the lens of God’s story. Which is the ultimate thing that drives us to do what we do.”
we should view ourselves and each other… through the lens of God’s story
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