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Why is reaching the next generation so important? What’s my role in sharing Jesus with younger people?

When our son Harrison was still very small, I used to spend time teaching him how to pray—both speaking and listening to God. We would kneel down together next to his bed and talk to God. We praised and made our requests, and then we would get quiet and listen.

One night as we were kneeling together, having just prayed for a number of people and things, I said, “Son, let’s ask God if there is anyone or anything else He wants us to pray for. If anything comes into our hearts after we ask, we will pray.”

We knelt quietly for a few minutes, and I soon could tell that Harrison had something he thought we should pray for. “What is it, son?” I asked.

“I feel like God wants us to pray for the squirrels,” he responded. So, we prayed for the squirrels, that they would be warm and have enough nuts for the winter.

The following evening we were praying again and, once more, we quietly waited for any “prayer instructions” in our hearts. I watched the funniest expression come over my son’s face as he knelt there with his eyes closed. He suddenly said out loud (to God, I think), “Squirrels again?!” After I finished laughing, we prayed once again for the squirrels!

Harrison began learning to listen for God’s voice in prayer, and it wasn’t long before he was distinguishing between what was a genuine Holy Spirit prompting and what was not. He was learning about God because he had someone in his life who was generationally minded—an older person who was “passing the baton” of faith to him.

When we read the Scriptures, we find that King David was extremely focused on passing the baton to those who came after him. He spoke several times in the Psalms of reaching the coming generations. In fact, the biblical record tells us that David did everything he could to prepare for Solomon and the coming generation (see 1 Chronicles 28–29).

David prepared wealth, resources, building materials, workers, and a leadership team to help Solomon. He also prayed for his son, encouraged him, and instructed him in the Word of God. And he modeled humble leadership before him. A successful transition was made, the baton was passed, and the kingdom was established in Solomon’s hand.

I believe the Church today can do the same, by God’s grace. The price of dropping the baton of our faith is far too high. Be intentional with the younger people in your life. Pass the baton… and in doing so, you’ll empower the next generation to reach the world with our living Jesus!

A Word to You from Bayless...
A minister friend of mine told me a story about a ministry conference he was attending. The man leading the session one night called for all those serving in full-time preaching ministry to come forward and receive prayer.

My friend complied… and to his dismay, found himself face to face with a smiling 18- year-old girl. He thought to himself, What a waste of time this will be!

As if hearing his thoughts, the young lady looked at him and said, “My, aren’t you cynical.” Then, through a gift of the Holy Spirit, she began to speak to him about his inward weariness and struggles—things that God alone was aware of.

He began to sob.

After that, she laid hands on him and prayed, and a mighty presence of God descended on him. For the next hour, he lay on the floor weeping and talking to God. That encounter changed his life, his ministry, and his entire mind-set about the next generation.

The younger generation has so much to add to the church today. And when we pour our lives into theirs and release the baton of faith to them, we’ll see God move in exciting new ways through their faithful witness.

Answers with Bayless Conley
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Bayless Conley
Web site: Cottonwood Church
Bayless Conley is a pastor and speaker known for his clear presentation of the Gospel and the way he applies the life-changing truth of God's Word to everyday life. It's this same truth that radically turned his life around when a 12-year-old boy shared the Gospel with him many years ago. Bayless' unique background and remarkable testimony have enabled him to reach a diverse audience of people globally. In 1979, God called Bayless to share His Word on television, and in 1984, the broadcast was launched. Today, the Answers with Bayless Conley broadcast is impacting lives around the world in numerous languages.

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