3 Insights from Chris Folmsbee's The Garden Resonates
How do we preach the gospel to emerging generations?
What are their values? What are they looking for? What connects?
While the good news of and about Jesus is a timeless message, it must always be communicated and embodied afresh in and for each generation. Missionaries understand this well. They know their message, but they observe cultures. They listen, and then they think carefully about how to connect. Then, they get about the business of preaching, demonstrating, and inviting a response to Christ.
In his book The Garden Resonates: A Gospel Emerging Generations Can Believe In, Chris Folmsbee observes “emerging generations hunger for a deep and meaningful spiritual life that leads to a purpose-filled life full of possibility”(9).
Folmsbee believes the church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, can connect with emerging generations “and help them discover and experience the otherworldly and transcendent nature of a good God who longs to reestablish the Eden peace that showed the world to be whole”(10).
Folmsbee argues that emerging generations will connect with “a garden-like way of life and story, as well as the mission to restore the world toward its intended wholeness”(10).
What follows are three great insights from Folmsbee’s excellent book.
1. “We cannot reach and engage Millennials until we know who it is we are reaching and the best ways to reach them”(19).
What are the values of emerging generations? How are Millennials and Gen Zers different? We’ve explored value sets of both generations, and have developed courses which help you to know who you are trying to reach.
2. “Sometimes it seems like you and I--and the church as a whole--are really good at telling the world what they need to know, but we’re not very good at listening to and learning from those around us about what they know about faith and life”(37).
Folmsbee takes a broad look at the gospel, exploring how the good news is about salvation, but that salvation includes the bringing of justice. The implications are vast; the church is to embody the kingdom of God, and thus exhibit the freedom we have in Christ, hope, healing, community, and what it means to live a transformed life.
But it also means that we should be holy, and as we grow in holiness, we should be humble, generous, faithful, and hospitibley. We should also “be people of conversation...who truly dialogue with one another”(37).
3. “Emerging generations need a hope that is beyond a birthday wish. Emerging generations need a hope that excites, guides, and renews--that calls to action”(48).
Does the gospel you preach invite response? Does it show how following Jesus Christ leads us into a renewed relationship with God and others, one that calls us to do good and bless others? Folmsbee writes that this kind of message connects with emerging generations.
The Garden Resonates is filled with insights for church leaders seeking to connect with emerging generations. Buy the book in our store.