Recently I read a book by Hayden Shaw called Generational IQ. In this book, Hayden was making the argument that Christianity is not going to disappear in three generations, but rather, the church had to ask itself some hard questions in order to impact the future generations. As a pastor, I am confronted with the fact that my church is predominately filled with older generations. Not that we don’t have younger generations in our church, we do, but the majority is predominately older. In Hayden’s book, he suggests that the values of each generation have changed over each generation. Therefore, as pastors and church leaders we must change the value we include and reach these generations. The question that has bothered me since reading this book is that it seems to be lost in all of these generations and in church period that first, the church doesn’t belong to you. Secondly, we are called to pass the faith on to the next generation.
- Give the church back to Jesus. In his book, Hayden makes this point, that for the church to reach the next generation we have to give the church back to Jesus. To me, this brings up a very important question, at what point did the people take the church from Jesus? When did it become “my church” instead of “Christ’s church”? I think honestly this will be answered differently by different churches. For so many, it was during the worship wars era. Preferences became hills worth dying over at the neglect of the generations that longed for a change. The preferences became infallible as the scriptures. For those who believe that we should not change at all but keep doing as it’s always been done, I seriously want to know where you find this, and why? I want to better understand this mindset.
- Failure to do the Great Commission. In so many churches across the United States and the world, we have failed big time in discipleship. We have gotten this idea that if we stay busy with programs then that’s discipleship. Only to see folks leaving the church and never coming back. Rather than being a spiritual refreshment, it’s a place of burden and burn-out. The call of Christ on the church is rather simple, make disciples, baptizing them, teaching them to obey all I’ve commanded you. Simply, help them to live out God’s Word in their lives. We need to get back to the simple of church.
- Repent. I’ve had experiences in all generations where we fail to simply say, “I was wrong.” It’s ok for the young generation to say, “I don’t know it all, I was wrong”. It’s also ok for the older generations to say, “I didn’t do what I should have, I was wrong.” It’s about time that we repent of our sins as we are commanded to do and believe in the Lord. It’s that simple.