Is This the Generation?
By Ron Boehme
More than 100 years ago a praying Student Volunteer Movement thrust 100,000 young people into the forefront of missions. Will God do it again?
Today’s students receive many messages about life. They are told to be themselves, have fun, and care about the planet. But do we really connect today’s kids with the reason they are here?
Today’s students were born for a purpose. That purpose and mission is Christ’s Great Commission—as yet uncompleted. This generation is uniquely poised to do it for several reasons:
- Others have set the stage.
- Technology has made the world reachable.
- The final global strongholds are falling.
- Just possibly they were born for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
Others have set the stage. For the past 2,000 years the Church has been progressively expanding. According to the U.S. Center for World Missions, in AD 100 the ratio of nonbelievers to professing Christians was 360:1. In 2000 the ratio of non-Christians to professing Christians stood at 6:1. Here’s a glimpse of the playing field in 2014: More than 2.2 billion people call themselves Christians, 2.7 billion have heard of Jesus, and another 2.3 billion have not. God wants to reach them all—and it’s happening.
In China, the greatest ingathering of souls in the history of a nation has taken place in the past 60 years when the Church grew from three million to possibly 100 million. The largest Muslim nation in the world—Indonesia—is approaching 20 percent Christian. Korea is poised to become the first Protestant Christian nation in Asia.
The advance of the Great Commission is no less dramatic elsewhere. In Latin America there were 50,000 Protestants in 1900. Today there are 60 million. More evangelicals are serving Jesus today in Brazil than in all of Europe. One hundred years ago, Christians comprised only four percent of Africa. Today, they number a staggering 300 million. It is an amazing time to be alive as the good news sweeps across the global arena.
Others paved the way. Now it’s this generation’s turn.
Technology has made the world reachable. I flew a few months ago from central Asia to Seattle. It took less than a day. It’s difficult to grasp that people have been flying commercially for only 100 years. Add to that the ease of communication—telephone, email, video conferencing, radio, television, and the Internet—and you have a unique time in history when the earth has become truly reachable for Christ.
As Roman roads were a blessing to missionaries in the early centuries, imagine what a technically savvy generation can do in this era to communicate God’s love. They can jet to every nation on earth in a matter of hours or days. They can take short-term missions trips or live in a foreign nation for a lifetime. It doesn’t take a year to sail around the Horn to reach a distant country. There are vaccinations to prevent disease. Languages can be translated more quickly and shared with oral-based tribes.
Even without travel, this generation can beam the gospel by radio and television into 237 nations or set up websites and chat with their counterparts in most countries. There has never been a better time or generation to communicate God’s love.
Satan’s final strongholds are falling. The WWII generation brought the defeat of Fascism. The baby boomers saw the fall of Communism. The final satanic “Alamo” is the Islamic world. Even as the Islamic State (ISIS) rears its ugly head in the Middle East, many Muslims are turning to Christ. Is the crumbling of the Islamic veil the final major hurdle in the evangelization of the world?
For such a time as this. In all of history God’s deliverances were preceded by Satan’s attacks on youth. As mentioned previously, the largest missions movement of all was the Student Volunteer Movement (1880s to 1930s), which sent 100,000 young missionaries into many nations.
Today’s Christian youth are a generation that has been rescued from the abortion chambers. As Pharoah tried to kill off the Exodus generation and Herod moved to destroy the children in Bethlehem at the birth of Jesus, Satan has always tried to kill off the younger generation because another great event is coming—perhaps in our day—the return of Christ.
But the devil won’t succeed because this generation has been “chosen” for a great and awesome purpose. God wants to raise up a 21st century Student Volunteer Movement to send millions of young people from every nation to every nation. Let’s pray this generation will accept their calling to complete their destiny.
RON BOEHME is the Northwest USA director of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and author of five books. He is a frequent speaker on missions, leadership, spiritual revival, and current events (usrenewal.org).