In my role at Lifeway, I have the pleasure of working with plenty of people who are younger than me. I have found them to be highly relational, creative, and eager to learn, and I will tell you that it is an incredible blessing to get to know each of them. And I have learned a ton from them along the way!
If you are around someone younger, God has given you a fantastic opportunity to invest in the next generation. You have a chance to help them develop, grow, and serve Jesus greatly for years to come. But how is this done? Here are six ways that you can invest in the next generation:
- Pray for them. Nothing spiritual can happen without praying for God to work. The next generation has many temptations that can distract them from the things of the Lord. Spend time each day praying for those you know by name, that their eyes and hearts will focus on the Father.
- Listen to them. Everyone wants to be heard, and a younger person is no different. In fact, it’s essential to let them speak. Proverbs 18:13 says, “The one who gives an answer before he listens—this is foolishness and disgrace for him.” A good listener will ask open-ended questions, affirm their thoughts, and paraphrase what they said before responding.
- Share with them. Just the other day, I had a young colleague come to me for advice and I was honored even to be asked to help. Many of those from the next generation want an older person to share their life experience and knowledge. And by the way, you might just have a chance to learn from them as well.
- Appreciate them. Whether it’s words of affirmation, an act of service, or a thoughtful gift, a small gesture of appreciation goes a long way. Be intentional in letting the younger person know that they are valued, needed, and appreciated.
- Mentor them. Having a mentor relationship is helpful and beneficial for all involved, and it doesn’t have to be hard to do. Having a one-on-one mentor relationship can be as simple as praying with them, studying a book of the Bible together, or utilizing tools such as the weekly Talk It Out section of the Explore the Bible Daily Discipleship Guide.
- Serve with them. Many in the next generation are concerned about the world around them. One great way to connect with them is to serve with them. Besides, a ministry with a new influx of younger people will often see a new energy and excitement, which will encourage other participants.
It is a privilege and an honor to work with younger people all around me. I love the energy that they bring, the eagerness that they approach their work, and the way that they have fun while serving Jesus in such a wonderful way. I also take great pleasure in devoting time and energy into those who will reach the nations for decades to come. Let me encourage you to do the same, as you can be a blessing while being blessed from your care for them.
Dr. Fran Trascritti (@frantras) is a husband, father, and grandfather, but most of all, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. He pastored various churches for over 23 years and now serves with the Explore the Bible team at Lifeway. You can reach him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org