What’s truly at stake in the local church is the transfer of faith and ministry to others. Faith in Jesus Christ is to be shared and passed on. Ministry in the pattern of Jesus Christ is to be humbly and passionately practiced for the sake of others. Proclaiming the message of Jesus and raising-up people to embrace a relationship with Jesus is the purpose of ministry for a local church. For this reason, rare is the church that begins with a goal to cease existence after one generation. Usually, a church begins with dreams of beneficially impacting lives for many years, over extended generations. Typically a church hopes that its impact will continue past the lifetime of the current members. Typically, inherent in the make-up of a congregation is the belief that one generation should enable the next embrace a relationship with Jesus Christ and continue to worship God, to love neighbors and to proclaim his message to the world. In fact, churches are often considered to have succeeded to the extent that they are able to equip and encourage ensuing generations to carry on the responsibility of ministry. A church community that maintains a grand place of worship and practices the tradition of a particular generation has failed if it neglects to pass the vibrancy of knowing Christ to the next generations. North America is not far behind Europe, where mere handfuls of older parishioners gather in countless enormous cathedrals across the continent while younger generations have generally forgotten Christ. The failure to transfer the ownership of ministry to the next generation is abhorrent to the mission of Jesus Christ for a local church. As Psalm 78:1-7 simply states, love for Jesus and for his Church demands that one generation proclaim to another the glory of God.
Stevo! Can’t wait to see you guys in a month. Planning a great time for you! You’re helping me here!
Conversion stuff… A lot of the new methods of “conversion” for young people seem to be focusing on conversation and process. A “sinners-prayer” sort of conversion is rarely talked about any more. This is good and it is also bad.
Here are some resources that come to my mind:
1. I BELIEVE IN EVANGELISM by David Watson- simply the most inspiring Evangelism book I’ve ever read. I was ready to tell the world about Jesus while/after reading this book!
2. THE COFFEEHOUSE GOSPEL by Matthew Paul Turner- also REIMAGINING EVANGELISM by Rick Richardson – both of these are good overviews representing the current conversation style conversion emphasis.
3. EVANGELISM AND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD by JI Packer – some great theology about what God is doing in conversion.
4. I think that Regent College and Fuller Seminary have had many course discussions and materials on this issue in recent years. Not sure what Alpha Youth resources/leaders might have to offer too.
Yeah, Robert, this is thesis stuff summarized a bit. (Finally got the Ethics application done!) Can’t wait to read yours!
Thanks for your comments… I’m especially intrigued by the “large shift” in our peers. I think younger ministry leaders really desire to be mentored be transition-minded older pastors. If there is a void of that kind of elder influence, what else can the younger generations do?
I also appreciate the idea of centuries, rather than generation… or actually “next month” ministry-mindedness. Hmmmm.
Ken loving these blog posts. Great to think and live these huge challenges out! You have an amazing opportunity in Brentview to model out some of these things, to teach, transfer and raise up next generation jesus followers who love their heritage and love change.
I am writing a paper on conversion in young people- event or process type thing- any helpful thoughts?
Ken, this is great stuff. Keep it going. I assume it is from your dissertation project.
My study was finding similar realities in terms of church leadership. Generations below Boomer are finding it hard to (1) find opportunities to lead or even learn how to lead in the Boomer church (2) fit into the leadership models created uniquely for Boomer culture…big box seeker, CEO, board governance etc.
This has created a large shift in the way that younger pastors (like you and I) are doing ministry. Our peers are church planting, joining ministry teams and moving across a continent to find a situation in which older pastors are actually considering generational transition.
This kingdom business is long term, we have to think centuries not just present generation.
Thanks for the work. I look forward to more.