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.
Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.