Sharing the podium with my daughter Kim as “Two About His Work”
Do you remember when you were the next generation full of hope and ideas and ready to leave your mark on the world? I do. I also remember feeling misunderstood and unappreciated when sharing thoughts and ideas with older adults. Yet 36 times in the New Living Translation of the Bible, the Lord uses the term “generation to generation.” Many more verses instruct us to pour into those who are coming up behind us in the church and in our homes. It was God’s plan for the continuation of His church throughout the generations.
A Privilege Not a Burden
Sharing with the next generation some of what God and life has taught us is truly an honor and a privilege. The blessings multiply when the next generation is teachable and eager to learn.
Throughout the Bible, God instructs one generation of believers to teach and train the next generation [see verses at the end of this blog]. Praise God, over the centuries believers have followed this mandate. Think of it: if they hadn’t, you and I would not be Christians today! We are benefactors of the sacrifices of believers who have gone before us. Over the years, followers of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, have felt compelled to assure that the next generation:
- has access to the Bible and understands its contents
- knows how to communicate with God through the Holy Spirit and prayer
- receives guidance in leading a godly life
What Is Our Generation Doing?
The question our generation must ask is: What is God calling believers—you and me—to do today? How can we invest our lives in the next generation, as Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist) did with Mary (mother of Jesus)? Each of us must answer that question in a very personal and real way. If you are:
- A mother, you are influencing the next generation through your children.
- A Grandmother, your grandchildren.
- An employer, your employees.
- A ministry worker, the benefactors of your ministry.
- A pastor, your congregation.
- A school teacher, your students.
- A Sunday school teacher, the children in your classrooms every Sunday.
- A mentor, your mentee.
Why Do We Have Generation Gaps?
There should never be a generation gap in the church—that was not God’s plan. God commanded that one generation was to pass down His truths to the next generation. In churches today, the gap between generations is often so wide that the only thing passed between the two is mistrust and misunderstanding—all in the name of Jesus.
I believe it’s often the older generation who perpetuate the gap by wanting everything to stay the same—same music, same way of doing things, same church service, same church activities . . . . Many churches relegate the young people to their own groups, and their input—whether in music or talents or ideas—is not welcome in the main sanctuary. Then they wonder why the youth are leaving the church in droves.
Church Is Not About Us
Our job as Christians is not to insist that everything goes our way. The purpose of church is not simply to spiritually feed the congregation; we’re to pass on what we learn to others. The Great Commission tells us to go out and tell the world about Jesus, and that includes the next generation.
If we want to stay relevant in the lives of the next generation, we need to learn how to embrace their style of worship . . . their way of communicating . . . their world. If we want to have an impact in their lives—to help guide them in the ways of righteousness—we need to speak their language, care about the things they care about, and reach out to them in love with a desire to understand what’s important to them.
My Call to “Feed My Sheep”
When I rededicated my life to the Lord in the summer of 1992, it marked a turning point in my life. I moved from thinking of how I could further myself in this world, to how could I further God’s kingdom. When I asked myself the question of what God was calling me to do, He clearly answered. I was to take a huge risk of leaving a well-paying career to go into full-time ministry. Not just any ministry—but a Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry that would teach and train the next generations of believers. The rest is history, as my grandmother used to say.
What Are You Doing to Bridge the Generation Gap?
Many churches today are mentoring, embracing, and equipping the next generation—the future of the church. If you attend or serve in one of those churches, I’d love for you to share specifics of how you are fulfilling Psalm 145:4 NLT—
“Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power.”
Here are some verses that reveal the significance of one generation passing down God’s truths to the next generation:
- Exodus 3:15
- Psalm 48:12-14
- Psalm 71:18
- Psalm 78:4
- Psalm 79:13
- Psalm 102:17
- Psalm 145:4-7
- Lamentations 5:19
- Daniel 4:3
- Luke 1:50
- Titus 2:3-5
Some excerpts of this article are from Face to Face with Elizabeth and Mary: Generation to Generation.