"Ministry to the next generation is the strategic path for evangelism, leadership development, and the building of strong disciples who remain grounded in Christ and in the church."
“Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear” (Matthew 13:8-9).
A harvest. This is the goal of planting, investing, and being strategic in areas of our churches where the outcomes far outweigh the investment. In business, they call the outcome a “growth engine.”
Growth engines are strategic outcomes (or a measurable number of up to 30 per cent or more) that exceed whatever input or energy was invested into the original venture, product or activity. Consider this in the light of next generation ministries:
- Eighty per cent of people come to know Christ before the age of 18.1
- Two-thirds of all church leaders experience the call of God in their teen or young adult years.2
- Seventy per cent of people retain their discipleship foundations in their formative years, when discipleship strategies are healthy.3
Ministry to the next generation is the strategic path for evangelism, leadership development, and the building of strong disciples who remain grounded in Christ and in the church. These three aspects of the work of the church must be prioritized as we continue to move forward as The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Healthy local churches that focus their efforts on the next generation influence communities in great ways. They attract younger families, introducing many unchurched people to a place of faith. And they develop strategies for young people to be involved and thrive in their local church family, contributing in significant ways to the ongoing health and vitality of the body of Christ.
Is the next generation a growth engine in your church?
One of the priorities of Mission Canada is the next generation. When Mission Canada first began over 10 years ago, several guiding groups were formed, including the Youth Guiding Group, made up of eight district youth directors and other key voices. They are focused on reaching the next generation and interact regularly on key issues. They share valued resources to empower churches to make ministry to the next generation a growth engine in their local contexts.
Although the next generation statistics haven’t changed much throughout the history of our Fellowship and other denominations in our nation, Canadian culture has changed dramatically. Because of this, a national research project was launched in the summer of 2017 to identify key themes around reaching the next generation for Christ in Canada. The project was a partnership between The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Youth for Christ, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada, Truth Matters Ministries, and Power to Change Ministries. The findings of this Canadian study were released in July 2018 under the name Renegotiating Faith: The Delay in Young Adult Identity Formation and What It Means for the Church in Canada.4
Consider this visual graphic of the preliminary results which helped to form this Canadian study.
My prayer is that this research summary and the related resource links can help as you consider ways to develop, build and/or strengthen your ministry to the next generation in your local church and community.
“Let us have ears to hear …”
1. “Evangelism Is Most Effective Among Kids,” Barna Group, Ltd., October 11, 2004,
2. John Roberto, “The Study of Exemplary Congregations in Youth Ministry,” Special Report: The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry, Faith Formation Learning Exchange, Winter 2009,
3. Alan E. Nelson, How to Bring Out the Leader in Your Child(CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013).
4. To download the entire report, visit www.RenegotiatingFaith.ca.
Andy Gabruch is currently the Next Generation Ministries director for the British Columbia and Yukon District of the PAOC and the chair of Mission Canada’s Youth Guiding Group. Andy has recently been made a non-voting member of the PAOC General Executive and is our Canadian next generation representative with the World Assemblies of God. Connect with Andy at email@example.com.
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This article appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of testimony, the bimonthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.