Without the generation born between 1946 and 1964, the mission enterprise may just go broke.
Unless radical changes are made by mission agencies and local churches, Christian baby boomers will not provide the human and financial resources needed for accelerated evangelism in the 1990s.
“Evangelize the World by AD 2000!” is a heady and contagious rallying cry. It is heard worldwide from such diverse sources as the Lausanne Movement, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Southern Baptists, mission agencies, and the Bible societies. And there are nearly 100 worldwide “megaplans” calling for a drastic increase in human financial resources in this decade.
While vision soars, few have addressed the sobering issue of where needed resources will come from. It is somehow assumed that the American church will carry the lion’s share, as it has done for many decades. Unfortunately, this is nothing more than fanciful, wishful thinking that ignores the reality that missionary vision and support is eroding, not increasing.
A generation of American Christians have supported the cause of world evangelization by giving their time and money obediently and generously. Unfortunately, they have aged and are mostly beyond 55. And this aging (and shrinking) resource base is stretched to the limit and unable to expand to meet any new demands.
We are at a time when the resource burden should be shifting to the pivotal generation born between 1946 and 1964—the baby boomers. But there is real doubt that they will meet the challenge, because boomer priorities and interests diverge sharply from that of traditional missionary enterprise. They will be the missing link in the resource chain that could doom AD 2000 visions unless churches and mission agencies radically ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more