The youth in this generation will play a large role in the church’s spiritual awakening believes Alvin Reid, a professor who holds the Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In his new book, “Raising the Bar: Ministry to Youth in the New Millinnium” (Kregal Publications), Reid observes that, among other among other positive characteristics, today’s youth are sincerely seeking a relationship with God, which will open up a new bright future for them in reviving the nation’s spirituality.
“I’m so convinced that this coming generation has the best promise. I’m very excited about young people and the potential they have,” said the 44-year –old who mentors to future pastors and has experience working with the youth. He has not only volunteered for youth groups but also plays bass guitar in a praise band, called “One Way Up,” with his 15-year-old son Josh and his son’s best friend who is a seminary student.
“Part of Raising the Bar is that teenagers are not children; they’re young adults and we ought to treat them that way. Not every teenager is ready to lead in worship. But if they are, why not let them? Why wait until they’re 20 or 25 if someone 15 can go win a medal at the Olympics?”
In his book, Reid lists 10 positive traits youth in today’s generation possess, crediting them to a book by Neil Howe and William Strauss, entitled, “Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation.” ““Millennials” refer to people born since 1982, according to the authors, and share common positive characteristics.
The 10 positive characteristics Reid observes in today’s youth include:
1. They are optimistic.
2. They are cooperative team players.
3. They are not distrustful and accept authority.
4. They are rule-followers.
5. They are watched over, not neglected.
6. They are colorblind to race.
7. They are bright.
8. They believe in the future.
9. They want to be challenged.
10. They are seeking genuine spirituality.
Reid said the youth ministry in America has not produced a generation of young people who are passionate about the church, which can be an indictment on the state of the church in America.
He looks toward the future with hope in the youth nonetheless, especially when the U.S. Census Bureau has projected that there will be more youth in America in 2006 than at any time in our nation’s history.
“I just think in the providence of God, our Lord knew that,” Reid said. “So that may be our hope.”