Why Next-Gen Christians are Unique and Amazing!

by Gabe Lyons

Here are a few things you should know about the future of Christianity and how we can reach the next generation with the Gospel in an authentic, relevant way.

  • Our culture has experienced dramatic change.
  • It’s nothing beyond enormous.
  • 9/11 has entirely shaped a new generation.
  • There’s three major things that are colliding and creating sea change in our culture.
  • We have to understand the context we are entering.

Culture Today

  • We live in post-modern culture… a skepticism towards certainty.
  • When we approach people with anything confident and certain, we are met with resistance.
  • We complicate that because our church culture has become very post-Christian.
  • The Church used to sit in the center of culture.
  • The Church is no longer at the center of culture; it’s in on the periphery.
  • Our nation was founded on an idea of religious liberty, but the Judeo-Christian ideals that have guided us have dominated the public square.
  • Today, all faiths are celebrated, not just tolerated.
  • Everyone is in the discussion.
  • Many Christians don’t know what to do about that.
  • We can either react and respond in fear.
  • Or, we can understand this is our new reality… our new normal.
  • In this place it is still possible for the Gospel to gain traction.

Where We’ve Been

  • We reacted to culture by separating from it.
  • We thought we needed to get as far away from the world as possible.
  • Our role in culture was to “fight the enemy.”
  • We’ve also tried to copy culture, being Christians by label mainly.
  • 76% of Americans define themselves as being Christians.
  • The label of Christian has become a cultural identity, a label.
  • There’s a new story developing as to how Christians are thinking about the world.
  • We’re not sure how to define or articulate it.
  • The new generation has captured the heart of the Gospel, and they’ve been restorers.
  • They aren’t going to separate or blend in… they are going to come along and restore.
  • As they restore, one of the biggest questions we have to answer is the one about the Gospel and what it says about the world and how we are to live our lives in it.


  • Restorers are finding their place in God’s Story.
  • The separatist mentality only looked at the fall and redemption.
  • It made our job to make people make a decision for Christ.
  • Cultural Christians understand creation and that our role is to restore… do good works, better our world, schools, do good work, etc.
  • Good deeds have been disconnected largely from the work of Christ.
  • Restorers understand it’s all of the story.
  • Restorers understand are created in the image of God, sin has separated, Christ has redeemed, and our opportunity is to partner with God for the renewal and restoration of all things.
  • This is Good News for the rest of the world.
  • “We have the ministry of reconciliation…”
  • This is the call of the restorer.
  • The restorer understands first things are first things.
  • It’s because of the Gospel that we are then called and responsible to go into the world and use our talents and giftings to restore the world.

The Next Christians

  • The new generation is thinking in a new way.
  • Instead of being offended by culture, sin or brokenness, they are provoked to engage.
  • They get involved in the brokenness in the world and they go to where it is.
  • They don’t just talk, they don’t critique it, they create.
  • They create culture.
  • They create using their talent and the burden in their heart to be restorers.
  • They aren’t critics, they are creators.
  • Next Christians are recovering the idea of calling.
  • People are struggling with meaning and purpose… people can’t figure out their calling.
  • This is one of the greatest opportunities the church has in this generation.
  • Every person in our church is out working in the world.
  • Our congregation is an army of people already on mission.
  • When we affirm and celebrate people who are living out their calling in their vocation is when we will see a revolution, an awakening.
  • The heart of God is for everyone of us to understand our calling and our mission the world.
  • It’s something every person struggles with.
  • Of all channels of culture, the only channel that convenes all of the channels is the church.
  • Our opportunity is enormous as we influence people engaged in the various channels of culture.
  • Sometimes we deep in the work of our calling and sometimes our calling finds us.
  • If we have a restoration mindset we’ll realize our job is to not state the Good News but to show up and be the Good News.
  • Isaiah 58
  • …we will be restorers of streets to dwell in.
  • This is our opportunity.
  • The next generation isn’t leaving the Church because they don’t want to be Christians.
  • The next generation is leaving the church is because they are looking for a church that is showing them how to be a Christian in a culture that is changing.

Notes from Tim Schraeder, Catalyst 2010 conference. Used by permission, Catalyst Space.com.


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