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EP 137 – Growing Younger as a Church

Replant Bootcamp
Replant Bootcamp
EP 137 - Growing Younger as a Church

How to grow younger?

I recently read a news article that saddened my heart.


The article told of a dying church that did not understand the beauty and importance of the older generation.

In an effort to grow their church younger they asked anyone over 60 to not come back to church for two years while they focused on reaching younger people.

Most churches in America right now are trying to figure out how to reach younger people.

There may be much debate on the best way to reach younger people, but I believe most of us would agree the church in this article has taken the wrong approach.

While we may not be as clear about it as the church in this article, this is still our primary approach in one form or another.

I have observed three primary approaches for reaching the next generation that don’t work well and one biblical approach that is slower but more effective.

Bad approach #1 – Center all preferential decisions in the church culture on one generation. (The older generation in legacy churches and the younger generation in church plants)

Bad approach #2 – Hire a new young pastor and expect him to reach young people.

Bad approach #3 – Create segmented programming where everyone gets what they want, and no one has to sacrifice their generational preferences.

In my role at NAMB I am blessed to be able to listen and learn from church revitalization leaders all over the country.

A pastor friend recently asked me if I have noticed any patterns or trends in struggling churches.

I told him that the primary issue I see in struggling churches is they are built primarily on the preferences of one generation and thus the congregation consists primarily of one generation.

My friend asked me what the solution to this problem would be.

I told him that I believe the solution is multi-generational discipleship relationships.

I believe it because I have seen how it works.

We have covered three bad approaches to reaching younger people, now lets look at the biblical approach.


Biblical approach – Increase affection and understanding amongst generations through intentional multi-generational discipleship.

1 Thessalonians 2:3-4

For our exhortation didn’t come from error or impurity or an intent to deceive. Instead, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please people, but rather God, who examines our hearts.

We have been entrusted by God with the gospel and it is imperative that we pass it on to the next generation.

Psalm 145:3-6

The LORD is great and is highly praised; His greatness is unsearchable. One generation will declare your works to the next and will proclaim your mighty acts. I will speak of your splendor and glorious majesty and your wondrous works. They will proclaim the power of your awe-inspiring acts, and I will declare your greatness.

It is more important that we herald God’s greatness to next generation than that they respect our traditions, or we are in danger of making the same mistakes as the Pharisees.

We must be careful not to value our personal preferences over God’s purpose.

Every church makes decisions on preferences.

I live in the south and I have a strong preference toward air conditioning in any church I attend.

If we want to see our churches become healthy multi-generational churches, we need to make and live out a kingdom commitment:

I will place the interest of the church and the Kingdom of God ahead of my own personal desires and preferences.

This is a bigger commitment than it may seem at first glance.

As Bob said in the previous session, “A vital and healthy church denies its preferences, dies to its preferences and does that on a daily basis in order to follow Jesus.”

Bob also said, it is impossible to follow Jesus and stay where you are and stay as you are.

Success in your church 5 years from now will not look like success did 25 years ago.

The church that grows younger is intentional about building affection discipleship relationships.

Instead of diving fully into this commitment there is a temptation choose of the bad options mentioned earlier or make superficial efforts.

1 Thessalonians 2:5-6

For we never used flattering speech, as you know, or had greedy motives – God is our witness – and we didn’t seek glory from people, either from you or from others.

Flattering speech is an insincere effort to gain something you want.

When we are hoping to grow your church younger, we must examine our hearts and your motives.

If our goal is to have younger people just so we don’t feel the pain of our churches slowly dying we are going about it the wrong way and we will not get the results that we desire.

 Our motivation must be the glory of God and our affection for the next generation.

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8

Although we could have been a burden as Christ’s apostles, instead we were gentle among you, as a nurse nurtures her own children. We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

This verse may not seem to be about multi-generational discipleship directly, but it does accurately describe the posture necessary for growing your church younger.

When we sit across the table from someone in a discipleship relationship, we begin to care so much about them that we are pleased to share with them not only the gospel but also our own lives.

The generational differences in a church can often feel like a competition.

But ministry should not be about us vs them.

We have an imperative to pass on the gospel.


2 Timothy 2:2

What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

But this isn’t just about passing things on to the next generation.

This is a gospel issue.

This is about biblically healthy churches.

This is about growing in the only metrics of success the Bible give us.

Biblical Measures of Success

  • Love
  • Unity
  • Maturity

Ephesians 4:11-16 show us these measures of success.

Ephesians 4:11-16

And He himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 4:11-13

Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 4:14

But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head – Christ. 4:15

From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part. 4:16-17

Did you see the biblical measures of success in the passage?

 Biblical Measures of Success

  • Love
  • Unity
  • Maturity

“It’s not natural for people who have almost nothing in common to voluntarily die to self to live in thriving community. Yet this is exactly what the gospel accomplishes in its building of the church—and this is particularly true of multi-generational congregations. Thriving multi-generational churches are characterized by self-denying humility because they cannot function otherwise. When you bring people together who have absolutely different ideas about what the church needs, you will see members preferring one another’s needs above their own, or you will see the church collapse.” – Sam Parkison

If we want to grow our churches younger, we must choose love, unity, and maturity.

In this choice we have an opportunity to see our churches grow younger and for us to grow in love, unity, and maturity.

I am convinced that the best way to accomplish this is to invest ourselves in each other’s lives.

And the best way to invest in each other’s lives is in discipleship relationships that are intentional and incarnational.

I want to challenge you to consider putting this into application when you get back home.

Begin building a relationship with someone younger than you.

Begin with asking more questions than giving advice.

When you ask questions listen to understand and not correct.

Empower the younger generations to lead and participate fully in decisions affecting the youth.

I am convinced that if we all did this our churches would grow younger.

We would not only grow our churches younger.

We would grow in love, unity, and maturity

The true measure of biblical success.

We also make disciples who make disciples and make the community noticeably better.

Let’s choose love.

Let’s make every effort toward unity in Christ.

Let’s mature in the fulness of Christ.

Let’s put the love of Jesus on display for the world.

Let’s grow our churches younger.

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Replant Bootcamp
Replant Bootcamp

The Bootcamp is coming at you from the Big “D” Dallas TX. Jimbo and Bob were on the road along with big boss man Mark Clifton, leading a conference for the Korean Council of Southern Baptist Churches. Our thanks to Dr. James Kang, our translators and the many great Pastors, Staff and leaders we met while there.

Today we get down to the important business of analyzing where your church might be in terms of its spiritual health. Bob opens the discussion-here are some of the highlights.

We often ask one another; “How is your church?” We may not want to answer or have categories to answer.  Here are four important areas to examine the health in your church.

  • Spiritual health: prayer, members are Christlike, demonstrate fruit of the spirit, obeying the commands of God, personal devotion to God by regularly participating in worship, prayer and bible study
  • Financial health: members supporting the ministry by giving regularly and sacrificially of their resources to the work of God in the local church and beyond, the church is able to compensate its pastors and staff
  • Missional health: members of the church regularly engage non-Christians and unchurched people in the community, and communicate the gospel clearly. The Church as a body knows, loves and serves its local community.
  • Relational health: the members of the church are unified in the gospel, they are not filled with divisions over their differences, they love and care for each other, they meet each other’s needs as need arises. They give, serve and love one another-the testimony to those outside the church creates interest and brings praise to God.

Some important things to note:

  • Numbers are something-they aren’t everything.
  • Most Churches, read that-most churches right now have experienced decline – you are not alone.
  • You can’t define health from numbers alone.

Here are some questions to analyze the health of your church:

  • Is our love for Jesus the primary motivation for the actions or work of our church?
  • Where is our love for Jesus leading us to risk and step out in faith to follow him making the gospel known in our community? 
  • What preferences and barriers are hindering our love for Jesus and our ability to follow him faithfully?
  • What is something that Jesus asking me (and our church) to die to, in order to follow more faithfully?

Bonus Material-The Stolen Slides from Keelan Cook

You probably need to analyze your church website. Get with our great sponsor, One Eighty Digital, they can help your website move forward and connect with your community.

Drop us a line, leave a voicemail, remember to like and share with your friends-thanks for being a Bootcamper.


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EP 115 – No Shame in Your Game

Replant Bootcamp
Replant Bootcamp
EP 115 - No Shame in Your Game

The boys have been kicking it in the Big Easy for the past few days doing some training for Replant and eating their way through some fine NOLA cuisine.  JimBo finally paid the bet debt by donning the Hog Hat. After the pleasantries they get down to discussing how shame plays a part in keeping Replanters isolated, separated and struggling.

Here are some of the quick insights:

  • Your identity is not tied to your success
  • God’s approval is not tied to your success
  • The Gospel frees us to be confident in Christ, no matter what happens
  • Often God allows us to struggle and develop a limp to humble us and make us more usable in his service
  • Every church struggles somewhere
  • Success is faithfulness

Are you struggling with shame? Do you need a safe place to talk?  Give our friends at the Pastor Hotline a call, it’s free, confidential, and available to serve you.  Call 1-844-PASTOR1

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Episode #26 – ?BOOTS ON THE GROUND HIGHLIGHT ? with Min Lee

Replant Bootcamp
Replant Bootcamp
Episode #26 - ?BOOTS ON THE GROUND HIGHLIGHT ? with Min Lee

Joining the guys on the bootcamp is Min Lee, Replant Pastor of LA City Baptist Church

Min is a Korean-American Pastor, replanting a predominately Hispanic Church in Boyle Heights. He learned about the church from his Director of Missions // Associational Missional Strategist who asked him to join him in visiting the church.

On his very first visit to the church he was asked to lead a song in Spanish, he also prayed in Spanish and taught them a Bible study in English. They kept inviting him back and eventually called Min to be their Pastor.

What did you do first?

  • I asked for help from other churches and pastors in the area.
  • I prayed, we prayed for God to work.
  • I got out and began to meet people in the neighborhood, introducing myself and the church.

What are some of the challenges you faced?

  • Everything is so new!  There is a big learning curve.
  • There is a cross cultural challenge-there are not many instances of a Korean Pastor leading a Hispanic church.

What have been some of the most helpful things for you?

  • I’ve learned to ask for help-and God has provided!
  • Churches have partnered with us to do events like VBS.
  • We’ve had help remodeling our facilities.

What resources have been helpful to you?

  • The Replanter Assessment provided by NAMB and the Replant Team.
  • The training materials and coaching that are available for me as a Replanter.

What advice would you offer Replanters?

  • Go slower and go with God-bring the congregation along with you. Get counsel as you lead the body toward the vision of a renewed and Replanted Church.  
  • We can look back into Christian history and see God using people cross culturally to present the Gospel-so be bold and be courageous, see each person and people group through the eyes of Christ.

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