I can't blame you if the television series by the same name was your first thought when you read the title of this article. After all, the fiction/fantasy series does get a lot of attention.
But my concern is about a different kind of lost, really the most important kind.
I recently did an interview with USA Today about an upcoming book my son, Jess Rainer, and I are writing. The book, The Millennials, is based on a massive research project conducted by LifeWay Research. The interview and research are reported in an article on the front page of today's issue of USA Today.
The interview and article served as a powerful reminder to me about the spiritual lostness of America's largest generation, the Millennials, who were born from 1980 to 2000. Though we cannot know with certainty the spiritual condition and eternal destiny of persons, we can have an idea through a series of questions we asked each of them in our research.
Our best estimate is that only 15% of this generation is Christian. Among nearly 80 million Millennials, only 12 million have personal relationships with Christ.
That means 85% are lost. That means 68 million young people are lost.
In the interview I expressed my concern that, on the current trajectory of the Millennials, thousands of churches will close in America each year. I expressed concern that once-healthy denominations are becoming unhealthy. I expressed concern that some of the thriving ministries of today are in great jeopardy if the trends of the Millennials continue.
But those concerns are not of paramount importance. The greatest concern is that millions of young people do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They are lost in their present spiritual condition.
Hope in the Bad News
As Jess and I researched the Millennials, we did find some hope in the midst of the bad news. Although the relative number of Christians in this generation is small, those who are Christians are more likely to have a radical commitment to the gospel than Christians in previous American generations.
Millennial Christians will not settle for business as usual in our churches. They will not be content with going through the motions, programs without a purpose, and spectator Christianity. They take their faith seriously, and they have little patience with churches that focus most of their resources on the members. These Millennials are serious about taking the gospel to the nations and to their communities.
In the midst of all the bad news, there is good news. Radical commitment from radical Christians. If a few Christians turned the world upside down in the first century, we have no reason to doubt that a few million can do it again in the twenty-first century.
Back to Lost
But we cannot forget the vast majority of lost young people in this generation. Our hearts should be broken with this reality. We should be convicted if we do not yet have a heavy burden to reach this generation. We should fall on our faces in repentance if their lostness does not break our hearts.
As I said in my interview, the trends are discouraging. The direction is anything but positive. But my hope is not in demographics, trends, and statistics. My hope is in an all-powerful God who can bring a real revival to our land.
Please join me in praying for this generation. Join me in praying for the salvation of the lost in this generation. And join me in praying for ourselves that we might be God's instruments to bring the gospel to the largest generation in America's history.