Working with a team back in 2004 to plant Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California, Dan Kimball now oversees the mission of this church, serving as their Director of Leadership and Mission. Dan has also developed a passion to see Jesus followers in younger generations truly know what and why they believe, as well as helping the unchurched in their generation hear a biblically-sound and compassionate presentation of the historic Christian faith. That passion led him to create the ReGeneration Project, which he directs. 

In this interview, Dan answers questions about the ReGeneration Project, how it furthers the gospel-centered ministry of Western Seminary and describes the recently launched ReGeneration Forum. This ministry has been described by many in the region as one of the most spiritually strategic and impactful initiatives in the Bay Area, so we hope you will join with us in praying for Dan and his team.

What is the ReGeneration Project through Western Seminary all about? Why did it start? 

With every generation there are new challenges facing the church in order to reach and disciple them. However, the changes happening now are not just about music style or preaching methods. There is an increasing lack of basic Bible knowledge among younger generations, along with a growing mistrust and overall negative feelings toward the church and Christianity all together.  It is much like what is described in Judges 2:10, where it says: 

After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done. 

The ReGeneration Project started in order to respond to these challenges. We desire to see youth and young adult leaders equipped and encouraged to bring theology back into the ministries in which they serve. We desire to be a resource for new generations by providing responses to the big questions of our day in a tone and manner they can understand and trust.

The lack of biblical knowledge produces incorrect teaching and theologies that influence the minds and hearts of younger generations. As a result, we are seeing an increase of younger generations that may hear about “Jesus” or the “gospel”, but when it boils down, neither the true Jesus of the Bible nor the true gospel are known. We want to be providing proactive training with a focus on the issues that confuse people today. 

Western Seminary has a similar commitment in training students to know the true gospel and the true Jesus, as well as partnering with the Church to impact generations to come. Western Seminary and ReGeneration Project’s leadership team also shared the desire to provide practical knowledge on how to respond to the difficult questions being asked today, and to do so in a tone and approach that young people can connect with. This is the reason why ReGeneration Project was launched. 

It has been truly amazing to see the growth and response since beginning this ministry. We have had influential speakers such as Francis Chan, Scot McKnight, Tim Mackie with the Bible Project; Tim has been at nearly every ReGeneration event thus far, and many other speakers of note. We recently signed a contract with InterVarsity Press for a line of books based around the ReGeneration mission to answer tough questions with trusted theology and provide learning in a format and tone new generations will actually read. Ultimately, our hope is to be an inspiration and unite the Bay Area churches who believe that combining doctrine, theology, and apologetics as part of youth and young adult ministries will spiritually revive young people and the church. Our team is incredibly excited to see what is ahead.

Where did this year’s theme come from for the ReGeneration Forum? 

The theme for the forum is selected from the previous year’s evaluation survey provided to attendees. Attendees are asked for their input and suggestions for what kind of topics surrounding faith and culture they would like to learn more about. When formulating the theme for this year’s event, we noticed a consistent question kept coming up throughout the surveys regarding heaven, hell, and questions about the supernatural. Thus, the topic, Heaven, Hell, and the Supernatural was born.

Who does the ReGeneration Forum primarily benefit?  

1.

It benefits new generations who want answers to their questions about God and the theological issues of our day. This is always done in a tone – tone is SO important today in how we present teaching – and in language that makes sense. With this audience, tone and presentation cannot be overemphasized.

2.

Youth and young adult leaders within the church especially benefit from the ReGeneration Forum, as it is meant to affirm and demonstrate how important sound theology is in our teaching today. There is an overwhelming amount of pressure on youth and young adult leaders nowadays to provide contemporary worship music, create a dazzling program that holds attention, and love the youth or young adults in their churches. While these are all important in today’s world, the theology of leaders is even more critical.  

3.

Finally, it benefits parents. We hope what we do will help provide trusted resources for parents of youth and elementary age children to know how to respond when their children ask the big questions.

What was one or two of the main highlights from the ReGeneration Forum overall?

One highlight was seeing a room of close to 800 youth and young adults engaging in a learning experience – seeing them take notes, learn theology together, and ask tough questions. It was amazing to see their enthusiasm to learn. 

Another highlight was seeing Dr. Gerry Breshears from Western Seminary speak at a crowded lunchtime Q&A session called, “Ask a Professor Any Question”. It was so fun seeing the intelligent questions that arose, (many about spiritual warfare), and watching Gerry respond to each one with the utmost care and intentionality. It was a beautiful picture of one generation passing down wisdom to the younger in a practical and authentic way.

If someone missed this event, what could they keep an eye out for in the near future?

  • Mark your calendars for the next ReGeneration Forum on November 8-9, 2019 in San Jose, California where we will be focusing on reasons to believeThe legendary apologist, Josh McDowell, will speak along with his son, Dr. Sean McDowell. 
  • Be sure to visit the ReGeneration website that has helpful articles and profiles of churches who are seeing new generations join their communities. These articles focus on what churches are doing to see younger generations come to faith and stay committed to a local church.
  • Check out our podcast where we interview and interact with people such as JP Moreland, Scot McKnight, atheist Michael Shermer, and others. You can find the podcast on iTunes under the title, “ReGeneration Podcast”.
  • Join our email list for updates when articles and podcasts will be posted and stay in the know with events throughout the year. Sign up by visiting our main website on the bottom of the home page.

There is so much we are looking at doing in the future. Your prayers and support mean a great deal as we continue to follow God and stay true to our mission of reaching new generations through theology, church, and mission. 

To learn more and stay in the know, visit www.regenerationproject.org.

 

Dan Kimball