The Four Generations

In this the proposal is made that we need to explore different approaches for each generation

Generation 1: adults and children go to church so have a good background knowledge of faith
Generation 2: adults don’t go but send their children so all still have some knowledge of faith
Generation 3: neither go to church nor send their children so adults some knowledge of faith but children have none
Generation 4: nobody goes to church or has a background knowlegde of faith

He then suggests that our approach to evangelism depends on which generation we are reaching

Generation 1: evangelism centred on preaching in church
Generation 2: evangelism by mass evangelism and/or nurture group
Generation 3: evangelism by nurture group
Generation 4: evangelism by long period of instruction and fellowship

There is also a critique of the place of groups

My own reflection on this is that its a useful analysis but I would like to go one step further and think about evangelism beginning with community engagement. Perhaps the weakness of the booklet is that it doesn’t offer a model of evangelism founded on an an incarnational approach. There may be some clues to the way ahead by looking at the renewed emphasis on spiritual formation but if people are not in contact with the church how will they meet Christians in the first place?

That will require us to think about how we engage with communities that no longer want to engage with church or faith.


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