Written by AT3 Internship Director, Naomi Shin
The Church has always been raising the next generation of leaders. The gospel is passed on and entrusted to the younger generations as they are raised up. A wonderful example of this is Paul and Timothy. “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” – 2 Timothy 2:2.
There is a huge need in the UK Church for intentional robust training of the next generation of leaders. In the Church of England the average age of a full-time minister is 52 and 23% are over 60. This is also the case across denominations.
Here are some contributing factors to these statistics and how they could be addressed:
- “The best statistics would suggest that little more than 3% of the population as a whole are born-again believers who are meaningfully associated with a local church.” With a lack of Christians, leaders have to be intentional in discipling, training and equipping all believers to be leaders in some way or another.
- In the post-Christian culture of the UK, “a younger generation may have had very little exposure to church or genuine Christian faith.” Young people are often swept away by prevailing ideologies, thus abandoning any Biblical values. Christians, in this context, have a better story to tell, the gospel story. Christian leaders have a responsibility to share the hope of the gospel in a culturally engaging way, and to ask the Holy Spirit to bring the next generation to Christ.
- “Most churches will constantly be giving some of the people they have reached, discipled and trained away to others, and will be receiving those who have been converted and trained elsewhere. Churches ought not to hold onto people too tightly, but see themselves as part of the much greater gospel cause that is the church as Jesus sees it.” For leaders to be trained, and more churches planted, the Church is to be generous when it comes to training and sending the next generation of leaders.
We (the UK Church) have a huge opportunity to grow the next generation of gospel leaders. AT3 is a great place to help start your journey. Have a Summer Intern or 2-Year Apprentice from the USA placed in your church. As they serve and learn in your context, raise someone from your own church to do ministry alongside them.