Summary: Without Unity in the older generation, we will not see a full release of the next generation
Releasing the Next Generation Part II Sunday September 15, 2002
A Base of Unity
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Last week, at the end of his message, Richard told a number of stories about Elijah and Elisha and how, although Elijah did not do all the things he was commanded to do at Mt Horeb, the one thing he did do which was the most important was to bring up an apprentice to whom he could pass the torch. Elisha then completed the task that Elijah had been called to. Richard pointed out the huge importance in releasing the next generation. That is what I want to talk about today.
What I want to do is to talk once again about releasing the next generation into ministry and leadership in the church.
I preached a sermon on this topic this summer as we sent off Mary and Julie to the Gathering, and as we looked toward sending off the youth to Chicago. One of the words that David Demian had leading up to the Gathering begins by saying:
Walking Backward, Running Forward
A Prophetic Call to Generation X
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.
What David was saying was that the next generation could not be released until there was a covering of unity provided by the older, or “boomer” generation. They created a covenant amongst the leaders that would provide this covering. When I watched the video of that covenant, I was thinking (maybe a little cynically,) that that is easy for them to commit to each other, they don’t really have to live with each other! Unity with my Christian brothers and sisters in B.C. is easy compared to unity with the ones I relate to on a daily or weekly basis!
But, I am convinced that God is calling us into the same things at Runnymede that he is calling the people into at the Gatherings.
We too, if we hope to release the next generation into ministry and leadership must strive toward unity we with in the church.
The Larger Ramifications of Unity.
Often when we are at logger heads with another Christian, we think that it is just between them and us. If we have done more reflection on it we recognize that it also between them us and God. Our personal relationship with God is hampered when we are not in unity with his people. These things are true, but there is a wider impact than just our own personal relationships. It effects the whole church.
This is why Paul pleads with these two women in the church at Philippi to be united. It is not just about two women having a tiff – their disagreement will affect the ministry of the church. These were women who worked side by side with Paul to see the cause of the Gospel furthered. And now the church was stymied because of their disagreement.
Unity affects the witness of the church
In John 17, Jesus has a lengthy prayer for himself, for his disciples and for us. At the forefront of his mind in his last moments before the cross is the unity of the future church. He prays for us:
20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”