Over the last couple months, I’ve been journeying through the core values for Calvary. This week, we look at one of the core values that is not simply important for today, but for the future. It’s our commitment to “Reach the Next Generation.” We believe that “It is the responsibility of every generation to reach the next generation.” This isn’t something that is just a nice thought, or would be a good addition to our journey with Christ, but I believe it is a mandate for every follower of Christ to pass the spiritual baton to the next generation. And as a church, it is even more important. Because the longevity of a church is based on the priority they place on reaching and discipling the next generation. I have unfortunately sat in and officiated church business meetings as a congregation votes to close their doors. On these occasions, you can almost always guarantee the next generation was no longer a priority at that church.
For Calvary, making this a priority and core value, doesn’t mean we neglect older generations or those that are not part of the next generation, but quite the opposite! To reach the next generation, it takes every other generation doing their part. From being a model for healthy marriages, to providing wisdom to a younger generation, we all carry the responsibility to pass on what we have learned to the next generation. As this happens, we find a healthy cycle of maturity. One generation helps the next grow and mature.
The problem is, this is rarely our natural response. Many of us don’t just naturally pass on what we’ve learned and experienced to the next generation, and many in the next generation don’t usually want to receive what the generation before them has to offer. So how do we make this work?
Reaching the next generation must start with and always include humility. A person walking with humility will be far more effective reaching and investing in the next generation, and the young person that responds with humility will be given the incredible experience to receive wisdom that far exceeds their years on earth. As a church, we know that we aren’t perfect, and we surely don’t have it all together. But in humility we strive to use the resources we have to fulfill this mandate by God to “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Prov. 22:6) As a church, my prayer is that we transform the future of our community by providing opportunities for kids and youth to experience the power and presence of God, and pursue His unique purpose for them! I believe a church that does this with humility may not be perfect, but it will a force in the Kingdom of God.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself about how you are reaching the next generation:
- What experience, wisdom or ability has God uniquely given you that you can pass on to the next generation?
- What steps are you taking personally to invest in the next generation?
- Is your investment in the next generation about you (pride), or about setting the next generation up to succeed (humility)?