Reaching the next generation
“Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.” Psalm 102:18
What is our responsibility to the next generation? Now that’s a question worth meditating on. My grandkids will be born in the next decade. What kind of a world will they inhabit? Will my faith in Jesus be their faith?
Into a chaotic, distracted existence are born our children. Intuitively they can see that our model of faith is broken. Teenagers are great at spotting hypocrisy anyway, but the disconnect between who we say we are and who we really are makes them want to puke.
For example, how does a young person reconcile the characteristics of a Spirit-filled Christian in Galatians 5:22 or 1 Cor.13 with the emotional and relational wreckage of divorce? Compromise has become so normal that we no longer even recognize it. We’ve exchanged a red-blooded relationship with the God of the universe for something superficial and plastic that to a teenager looks as ridiculous and phony as a conversation with an Elvis impersonator.
My generation is faltering; we’re distracted by a constant flow of activity and mesmerized by the god of entertainment and consumption. Galatians 3:1 might as well be directed to us, “You foolish Americans! Who has bewitched you?” Jesus’ letter to the church in Sardis might as well be the letter to the church in Atlanta, “you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die.”
It’s not working and an entire generation of adolescents know it. The number of missionaries being sent out from America is declining, a direct result of a church that has lost its way. Our mission of taking the gospel into all the world and making disciples is in jeopardy. Our options are twofold: drift with the societal current that one day will take us over a rushing waterfall, or return to our roots and help a new generation pick up the torch.
Living for today is not enough; we must lay the foundation of faith on which our grandchildren will one day build.