Challenge the Next Generation to Really Follow Christ

2011 D6 Conference

In this compelling 46-minute session from the 2011 D6 Conference, David Platt, author of Radical and the Senior Pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL, challenges us to teach the next generation to be true disciples of Jesus Christ who willingly abandon the comforts of this world to follow Christ no matter the cost.

As you watch this session, take notes and write down thoughts about how this session can impact your role.

Since the goal is to pass on an authentic faith to the next generation, it makes sense to understand what authentic faith—what true discipleship—looks like. In this talk, David Platt shares three essential characteristics of true disciples.

But first, David cautions the church and parents that it's not about trying to get children to ask Jesus into their heart or invite Christ into their life, because those phrases are not in the Bible. He said that we often focus on getting someone to say the right thing or pray the right thing, and then assure them that they are saved for eternity. But, in fact, "there are hosts of young people and adults who think they are saved, when biblically they are not."

How do you feel about that statement? What do you do in your church or family to make sure you are teaching your youth and children a biblical view of salvation and discipleship?
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David first exhortation to pastors and parents was that we must "teach them [the next generation] to treasure the person of Christ more than the possessions of this world." Jesus isn't a means to an end, but Jesus is the end! We live in a very materialistic society. What are some practical ways that we can teach our kids to treasure Jesus more than what the world has to offer?
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David made this challenging statement, "How will we call students to abandon the things of this world for Jesus when we fill our ministries with the things of this world?" What worldly things in ministry do you think David is talking about? Are there worldly things that have infiltrated your ministry that should be abandoned? What, and why?
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If you are a parent, how do you model for your family a pursuit of God over the pursuit of wealth and comfort?
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David's second point is that we should "Tell them that God's Kingdom is infinitely more important than their family." David said that our allegiance to the Church is more important than to our family. The Church will last forever, but our families are temporal. As you pass along your faith to the next generation, what are some specific things you can do to model a life aligned to God's Kingdom above all else?
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David said that biblically, the family should be in submission to the Church. Does that remove the responsibility of the parent to be the primary spiritual guide to their children? Why or why not?
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David's third point is to "train them to love the Lord enough to gladly leave their home behind." He said that we shouldn't idolize our home, marriage or family over Christ so that He gets the leftovers. The goal here it to raise up children who are 100% sold out to Jesus, and are willing to "abandon everything this world has to offer in order to follow after Jesus no matter what he says, what it costs them, or what it costs you."

If we are honest, this can be really hard, both for us individually and to effectively teach this to our kids. Take a moment to go to God in prayer. Ask him for courage and strength to model this kind of devotion to Jesus Christ.

As you were praying, did God impress anything specific upon your heart? Are there areas that you personally need to surrender to Him? How can you model true devotion to Jesus in your church and family?
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David talked about John Bunyan, and his conviction to preach the gospel even if that meant imprisonment and destitution for his family. Currently, there are no laws against preaching in America. How does that illustration apply to us today? What's the difference between John Bunyan and a pastor today who invests all of his or her time in their ministry and neglects their family?
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David challenges us to see the big picture, to really take the great commission to heart and make disciples of our kids and of all nations. If you are a pastor, part of your challenge is to first encourage the parents in your church to become true followers of Christ. Only then, can they lead their families toward true discipleship.

If you are a parent, take some time to really consider David's three points. Are you totally committed to Jesus Christ? Because only then, can we model an authentic faith for the next generation.

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