APPROACHING THE GEN-XERS

25 03 2008

Oftentimes, the passionate and zealous Christian who approaches a member of Generation X about their need of salvation, does not get very far. It’s not that they are unwilling; it is because we often lack discernment. Our vision to reach the Gen Xer must be filtered through the lenses of understanding and wisdom. These thoughts are not the last word on reaching the Gen Xers, neither will you find them to be applicable in all situations, but at least it’s a start.
1. Realize they often sense no need of church
For many, it’s not even on their radar. If they do “go” to church, they were probably invited by another and feel quite uncomfortable. They need to be greeted with friendly faces and not grilled with personal questions.
2. Assume they have a negative stereotype of Christians.
This comes from a media highlight of Christians who are radical or crazy. Perhaps they have had an experience of unchristlike behavior that has affected them.
3. Do not attack their identity (hair, piercing, tattoos, clothing)
You may have legitimate issues, but they don’t want to hear it, it is “who they are”. They just want you to accept them.
4. Offer them hope in a world filled with hate, uncertainty, and indifference.
Their #1 biggest need (even if they do not realize it) is hope. Their vision often lacks hope for the future. They have no faith in their leaders and find little comfort in their politically correct world. They will follow the one who inspires them to hope. Introduce them to the Solid Rock, Jesus Christ.
5. Match their cynicism for the church with your compassion for them as a person.
Look beyond the piercing, tats, cynicism, and earphones and show them true compassion. Do something for them that no one else knows about; write a letter, take advantage of the quiet moments. If done in front of peers, they may feel obligated to maintain their shell of cynicism.
6. Display integrity and authority in leadership
It could be as a parent, a supervisor on their shift, a pastor, a teacher at a community college, etc. Other leaders let them down, be different!
7. Be open and honest about your failings and weaknesses.
The “loser” is a person that they fear becoming. Demonstrate that you could lose gracefully. Model Proverbs 24:16, that real life winners are losers who keep getting backup after failing.
8. Flesh out the Great Commandment. (Matthew 22:36-39)
Love the Lord with all your heart; soul and mind, then love your neighbor as yourself. Thy are not against your faith, it just that they have seen so much phony faith.
9. Do not talk politics, even if they initiate it.
Our mission is to win people to Christ, not to our pet political philosophy. Let the morning coffee clubs at McDonald’s solve all our political woes. Let’s just talk about Jesus. If you want Scripture, try II Timothy 2:23, and avoid question that gender strife.
10. Exercise patience in you listening.
Hear them out. Do not start attacking them before their first sentence comes out of their mouth. They may not be eloquent, but you still need to listen. If you learn to listen to them, they may return the favor.
11. In your teaching (in church or out)
-Use less lecture and more images
-Be creative in activating their imagination
-Encourage participation
Don’t give up if you have had a few setback

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