Christianity is only one generation away from extinction. It is not passed to the next generation through our genetics. Every generation must embrace the truth of the Gospel individually. God has no grandchildren.
The older I get the more I realize I am leaving a legacy. The question I ask myself is “What kind of legacy am I leaving?” Most of us will live such obscure lives that our great-great-grandchildren will not even know our name. However, if we can pass on the eternal message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we will ensure the legacy of Jesus Christ will continue.
Impact The Next Generation
I was reminded of the impact of one generation to the next by Pastor John Theisen, Midway Church in Texas. In a sermon at the Baptist Bible Fellowship International meeting in May 2018, he referred to the relationship between the Apostle Paul and his young associate, Timothy. In 1 Timothy 1:1-11 I picked up on four things older Christians can do for younger Christians.
Encouragement in Suffering. Paul and Timothy went through hard times in Philippi and Corinth. The example and encouragement of Paul helped Timothy.
Counsel to Stay. Paul sent Timothy to Ephesus. When Timothy felt like leaving, Paul challenged him to stick it out. No work of depth takes place without time.
Communicate Truth. The people of Timothy’s church were being deceived by false teaching. They needed Bible truth.
Show Love. Truth without love can be harsh. The goal is to teach truth in love from a pure heart and authentic life. People will listen if they know you love them.
Stick with the Gospel. There are so many things to communicate. The power is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A ministry must be evaluated by how it measures to the Gospel.
The Greeks turned Christianity into a philosophy. The Romans turned it into a government. The Europeans turned it into a culture. The Americans turned it into a business.
We must be careful where we take our cue from regarding church ministry. There are many distractions calling out for our attention: Tradition, Pragmatism, Culture. Stick with the Gospel.
Chris Todd, associate of John Thiessen, ministers to millennials (age 22-37; born 1981-96). He challenged me to reach this generation. Notice some of their statistics:
- Millennials are the largest generation today.
- Half of the adult population is millennial.
- 70% of millennial raised in church are disengaged with church.
- 1/4 of American millennial claim no religion.
- 27% of millennials are married; less than any other generation at their age.
- Millennials are the most stressed-out generation.
- 80% say their smart phone never leases them.
- Millennials crave the peace and quiet presence of God.
Titus 2:1-8 reminds us that the older generation needs to impact the younger generation. Millennials need the mentorship of the older generation. The loudest sermon you will ever preach is with your life not your lips. Your fruit will always grow better on other trees.
“I touch the future – I teach” -Christa McAuliffe (Space Shuttle Challenger disaster)
I want our generation’s ceiling to be the next generations floor. Our generation should have bruises on our shoulders as we hoisted the next generation up. Let’s make the next generation better than our generation.
“No matter how hard, how dangerous, how painful it may be to join the people in the trenches of sorrow, your reward when Jesus comes will be spectacular. Everything you have ever sacrificed will be made up ten-thousand-fold. Every cross you have borne, every shame you have despised, will be compensated beyond imagination. You will be crowned — crowned like a king, with a crown of glory. Every adversary who thinks they have gotten the last word of scorn in your life will see it. They will see you crowned by the king of the universe.” – John Piper