The Next Wave
Empowering the Generation that Will Change Our World
NavPress, 2007, 212 pp., ISBN 978-1-60006-263-6
Born and raised in Australia, David Wraight is the international president of Youth for Christ. In this volume he describes, with numerous examples, how youth are incredibly effective at reaching and discipling young people for Christ.
Young people are connecting worldwide, overcoming cultural, geographical, language, and ethnic barriers with ease. The world is ready for the next wave of mission by young people. "When young people are given the freedom to lead, abundant fruit is produced. Their simple faith in God constantly generates courageous and creative initiatives, and their connectedness to the cutting edge of societal change allows them to be relevant and effective in their mission strategies. They have boundless energy and an absolute belief in the God of the impossible." (Introduction)
The first chapter tells how the young people of Rwanda are rebuilding that tragic country. Both the Scripture and church history give us many examples of young people leading in mission. "Their healthy na vet constantly generated courageous and creative initiatives, and their connectedness to the cutting edge of societal change allows them to be relevant and effective in their mission strategies." (23)
"Often young people are seen as 'future' leaders, as the 'next' generation but we also need to see young people as leaders for 'now,' and we need to provide opportunities for them to lead today." (23)
Young people have an insatiable appetite for new technology. They are "ideally suited to harness the full potential of the technology and communication systems that have flattened our world." Wraight tells how his 12-year old son in Australia intervened when a teenager in Canada told him in a chat room he was committing suicide. Michael was able to reach another web contact nearby who went to his house and intervened!
"It is hard for us to understand how this generation can establish and maintain meaningful relationships on the Internet and in the virtual world. But the fact is that they do; they can develop very close relationships with people they have never met face-to-face." Not only are young people introduced to Jesus on the Web, but they are also nurtured and mentored. (46)
We no longer have to rely solely on Western nations to send missionaries. Young people are crossing national boundaries for mission, as for example, a group of young Koreans who came to Australia with YFC to work with an unreached segment of Koreans. (49) When YFC wanted to begin work with youth in Central Asia, instead of sending westerners, they sent young people from their very strong ministry in the Ukraine. These young people came from similar cultures and spoke Russian. Mission flows both east and west.
"The globalization of the church allows us to have almost instant access to any place in the world by providing a multicultural sending pool for mission and ministry." Further, youth culture is globalized and youth easily connect -- and recruit -- across cultures. (52) "The rest of the world has caught the vision and is engaged and energized." (53)
"When it comes to reaching young people with the gospel, the most effective agents of Jesus are other young people. Motivating, empowering, and equipping young people to reach their peers are essential elements in order for the church to reach the world." (60)
"The thing about new Christians is that they have a very simple and fresh faith. Because they know they don't have all the answers, it is far easier for them to identify with the story of the people they are endeavoring to reach, and not present themselves as people who 'have it all together.''' (62) "I have found that the earlier in a faith journey a young person is mobilized and equipped in evangelism, the better it is for his or her long-term effectiveness in reaching and discipling others." (63)
Keith Green [radical Christian musician who influenced many in the 1980s] couldn't understand how someone could be genuine disciple and keep it a secret. However, "rather than forcing Jesus into a story-sharing conversation, Jesus should be there as naturally and as unobtrusively as our family and friends." (65) "If Jesus truly is the number one priority in our lives, then it really will be impossible for us to be a 'secret' Christian." (66)
"Without an authentic expression of the life principles and values of the One we follow, others will never really come to know who Jesus is." "Mere words are not going to win many people to Jesus. Modeling the principles of the kingdom and the character of Jesus in the context of meaningful relationships is the most effective way to communicate the gospel." (66-7)
"Love is all about giving to others, and it is as we give that we find meaning, purpose, and enormous personal value. The terrorist driven by humiliation is not only looking to retaliate, he is also looking to make an impact in the world, to be noticed. We find our value in the impact we have on others, either for good or for evil. If our existence makes no difference in the world around us, and no one takes any notice of who we are or what we do, then the message we are receiving is that we are of no value in the world. It gives a terrorist leader an enormous sense of significance when his acts of terror and his name are plastered all over the world's television and print media. When people rescued by love start to give to others, and then see how the people to whom they give are blessed by their giving, it provides a lasting and affirming sense of meaning and purpose" (82-3)
"How do we access the youth most at risk of terrorist manipulation and recruitment? Surely the only way is to have 'agents of love' infiltrate the youth communities that the terrorists prey on, and administer Jesus' love to the young and vulnerable before the terrorists can capture their hearts." "And these agents of love will have to be predominantly Christian young people who already belong to these communities." (83)
"Love is the currency of God's kingdom. It is the ultimate 'renewable resource.'" (90)
Young people are viewed as selfish and entitled. "But I have consistently found that young Christians are far more easily freed from the bondage of entitlement than those of us who have been Christians for many years." As we get older, we get more attached to all the world has to offer. (100)
The church needs to redefine success. "Instead of counting Christians, we need to weight them. We weigh them by focusing on the most important kind of growth--love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, kindness, and so on--fruit in keeping with the gospel and the kingdom." (175)
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