Summary: How do we pass on our faith to the next generations and release them into ministry and leadership?
Sunday July 28, 2002
Releasing the NeXt Generation.
World Youth day – it has been amazing to see all these young pilgrims swarming our streets, singing songs of praise on the buses, street cars and subway and attending all the events that celebrate their faith. World youth day has been happening for a number of years now, every second year. We have world youth day because the Pope knows that the future of the church is in the youth – that even a church with such a powerful influence and structure like the Roman Catholic Church is only one generation away from falling apart. All through his papacy, and even as a priest and Bishop, John Paul has placed a strong emphasis on youth, even to the point where now, while his health is failing he has canceled many other things so that he can be well enough to be here for world youth day.
My sense of things is that it is not just the Pope’s dream to see the next Generation built up in the faith, but it is also God’s dream.
Many of you know that we are sending Mary and Julie to The Gathering in Charlottetown this week. The gatherings are a time when Christian leaders and intercessors from all over Canada gather together to seek God for the Church and for the country of Canada. Unlike most conferences they come with no theme speakers or agenda – the agenda is to seek God on what he wants for us in Canada. At the last Gathering, something amazing happened. David Demian writes: “From the first gathering in Whistler in 1995, our hearts’ longing has been to train and release the younger generation. The Lord has led us on a journey to raise up the covering and protection of true spiritual fathers and mothers in our nation, those who would walk with the younger generation and speak into their lives. This journey reached a climax in September 2001, when more than 110 leaders from across Canada entered a covenant to lay down their lives and ministries for one another to see God’s kingdom advanced in Canada.
Soon after the covenant, the Lord spoke to us that now, with a covering of fathers in place, He desires to release the children to walk with the fathers.”
David, who facilitates the Gatherings, believes that it is at the gathering in Charlottetown that God is going to begin to release the next generation to walk with the fathers and mothers.
Many of you may have seen the latest issue of Spread the Fire which is all about releasing the next Generation of Christian leaders.
As an individualistic and self centered culture, we can often have our minds set on today only: that God’s favorite generation is my generation. But God has a larger view that that people will serve him in this generation, and the next and the next.
It may be our hope that Jesus will return within our lifetime, but we must work, plan and prepare as if he will wait another 2000 years before he returns. And the question that Jesus has for us in Luke 18:8 is “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
What are we doing to ensure that when Jesus returns, he will find faith in this place? I believe that God is about to do a work among Young adults, but I also know that we cannot just sit back and watch him do it, we need to step into the work that he is doing.
In June 2000 Charisma Magazine published some alarming statistics: “Currently, 88% of America’s 30 Million teenagers don’t go to church. Of the 12% who do, 80% will stop attending before they graduate from High School.”
If this the case, how do we ensure that, as verse 4 says, we are not hiding the powerful works of God from our children, how are we telling them to the next generation in a way that they can hear? How do we reverse the trends and release the next Generation to go further in the Spirit than we have?
The Word for The Boomers
The reason that those of you who are called boomers are called boomers is because you are part of the post-war baby boom, which created the largest generation that North America has ever seen. It also created the powerful youth culture of the Sixties and Seventies. My father and I bracket the Baby Boom. My father just turned 61, and I will be 37 this year. If you are younger than my Dad and older than me, you are a boomer.
It is interesting that when churches started to try to reach the baby boomers in the 80’s, the people in the church that had most difficulty with the change to less formality and contemporary music were not the elderly people – they realized that their time was soon up, and they needed to make room for the youth. The ones with difficulty were the people in their 50’s and 60’s because these people knew that they would have to live with the change for a long time. The strange thing is that now it is the boomers who are in their 50’s!