How can you reach Millennials with the Gospel? It’s a question the church is asking as people born between 1981 and 2001 have become the largest age demographic in the United States.
Under the banner of “Outreach IQ,” nearly 200 servants of Jesus gathered in Houston at the 2016 fall Pastors Conference to hear answers to the question. Rev. Dr. Mark Seifrid and Rev. Dr. Leo Sanchez laid the theological foundation for Gospel outreach. From Biblical outreach underpinnings to Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation that highlighted the “love from the cross,” God’s sending and life-giving love for all leads us to be sent ones who share His love and grace.
How might outreach work well in a 21st century context? Haydn Shaw led a discussion about reaching every generation. He discussed Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials—each with unique perspectives and backgrounds. The greatest barrier to outreach? Shaw noted that Christianity has been “hacked” in this generation. It’s been replaced with moralistic overtones and the view that God is not involved in the day to day life of His people. What’s the answer? One important way to connect with Millennials is to invest in relationships. We can show Jesus’ love and care by texting and staying in touch. We can foster dialog that addresses the hard questions young people are asking. We can display acceptance and compassion as Millennials experience a pace of life-development different from previous generations.
In addition to the main speakers, several sectionals were offered—some by Texas District’s very own. Church planters Rev. Gabe Kasper and Rev. Barrett Grebing discussed Evangelism and Church Planting. Kasper planted ACTS Church Leander and Grebing started ACTS Church Northwest, a new mission launched out of ACTS Church Leander in partnership with the ACTS Network in Austin.
Grebing and Kasper discussed personal experiences in outreach and practical ways to implement evangelistic connections in the community through new church starts.
The Outreach IQ Pastors Conference offered stimulating discussion and presentations, enjoyable fellowship, and practical takeaways. Be sure to reserve May 1-3, 2017 for the Texas District Theological Convocation in Austin, TX and October 15-17, 2017 for the Texas District Professional Church Workers Conference in San Antonio.
By: Rev. Michael W. Newman
Mission & Ministry Facilitator, Area C