Recently World Magazine ran a very interesting and important article entitled, “The Other Unreached People Group.” (January 14, 2012, pg. 30). It points out that in addition to the geographical window of the 10/40 people group, a geographical region that represents billions of lost Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhist, there is now a new generational people group that is unreached. This is persons between the ages of 10 and 30. The article points out that today there are 2.4 billion people in the world between the ages of 10 and 30. Jonathan Taylor of Global Youth and Family Ministries notes that this constitutes, “the largest unreached people group in human history, larger than the 100 largest geographically defined unreached people groups combined.” It also pointed out that over 50% of people around the globe are now under the age of 25. This is an amazing and startling fact.
However, the article goes on to say that this emerging global youth culture has more in common with one another than it does with the adults of their own culture. It notes that, “theirs is a world shaped by media, by technology, and by the predominance of English as the language of the internet.” That later fact is especially significant, and one that we can rejoice in. However, that there seems to be a genuine disconnect between an older and younger generation is troubling. Many of us have talked about this within the SBC, but this article argues that it is a worldwide phenomenon. Today’s youth learn primarily from social media websites, not the dinner table. They go to YouTube and they Google. Whereas parents once were a primary source for information and guidance, tragically this often is no longer the case. Eric Larson, also of Global Youth and Family Ministries, makes a most sobering observation: “we used to guide our children into the pool and teach them how to swim. But this is the generation of parents who walked away. We’ve pushed our children into the pool and we aren’t in the water with them.”
Is there a solution to this dilemma? Larson and Taylor think so. They issue a simple and direct plea: “We are calling on an entire adult population to turn its hearts to the young.” This plea is significant for evangelicals as we think about how we reach our own children, our nation and the world. I think it has significance for how we strategize in terms of missions in the days ahead. There must be a laser beam focus on the young in terms of evangelism and discipleship. We must prioritize time, energy and resources to reach this massive unreached people group with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God has provided a covenant community with a mandate to address this wonderful opportunity for the advancement of the gospel. It is the Church. We, as His Body, dare not hesitate. We must not sit on the sideline. The challenge is plain. The question is, will we rise to the occasion? I pray that we will. I know we should.