By Brandon Elrod
ALPHARETTA, Ga.— A new podcast from the North American Mission Board (NAMB), “Next Gen On Mission,” focuses on equipping pastors and ministry leaders to reach and disciple the next generation with the gospel. Hosted by Shane Pruitt, NAMB’s executive director for next gen evangelism, each episode features practitioners and experts in the area of ministering to the next generation.
Research indicates that roughly 77 percent of believers become Christians before age 18, and 95 percent do so before the age of 30, Pruitt said. That reality adds a level of urgency to reaching teens and young adults.
“Next gen ministries can’t just be programs in our churches. They have to be seen as the front-lines of our evangelism efforts,” said Pruitt. “So, I want to help churches and leaders to be the most effective they can be in reaching, discipling and mobilizing the next generation to reach a generation with the gospel right now.”
The podcast’s first season includes 10 episodes which were all posted at the end of March. Guests include Ben Trueblood, director of student ministry for LifeWay Christian Resources, J.D. Greear, lead pastor of Summit Church and current president of the Southern Baptist Convention and actress and social media influencer Madeline Carroll.
“Next gen ministries require ever-changing approaches to sharing never-changing truths,” Pruitt said. “I’ve sought to bring on guests who are practitioners. They are constantly developing creative ways to reach, disciple and mobilize Millennials and Generation Z with the eternal truths of the Gospel.”
Topics range from helping pastors and ministry leaders understand the next generation and helping them live on mission to utilizing the arts, social media and other digital avenues to reach young people.
Technology and cultural shifts in North America have generated an atmosphere in which more information and different worldviews are available, not only at the touch of a button, but in the communities and schools of the rising generation.
“There aren’t a lot of podcasts that are specifically geared towards next gen realities, and there are even fewer that come from a Christian worldview,” Pruitt said. “The episodes are encouraging, convicting and equipping. Every leader who has been a guest challenged us to be better and shared applicable next steps to help us be better.”
One of the keys that Pruitt emphasizes in each episode is that the next generation is not the church of tomorrow but that they are “the church right now.”
Every episode poses questions for those hoping to reach the next generation to consider, but Pruitt also hopes he and his guests will get the next generation themselves thinking about how to reach their friends.
The podcast is available at namb.net/next-gen-on-mission-podcast as well as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify with other podcast clients coming soon.
Brandon Elrod writes for the North American Mission Board.