Generational Transference in the Bible: Implications for Today’s North American Church (Part 2)

Generational Transference Passing

From this overview of the Biblical Foundations of generational transference evident in Scripture a few theological principles can be derived:

First, a local church should always keep its mission as its central focus.[1] Churches that lose the priority of mission become concerned about self-preservation rather than propagation of the Gospel. But long-lasting and successful organizations will not forget who they are and why they exist.  Of course, keeping focus on mission involves first and foremost keeping an interactive relationship with God as the core aspect to a church community. The commands to love others and to make disciples stem first from an active love for the Lord and from his active empowerment of people.[2]  Ecclesial mission must be intertwined with God’s work of spiritual formation in the lives of people.  As people focus on God and are marked by a response of obedience to his call, subgroups such as generations cannot help but to partner in mission.  And, as noted, if a primary aspect to
God’s mission involves one generation proclaiming to the next, generational transference of ministry leadership is naturally grounded in the theological foundation of worship and mission.  The primary task of leadership, then, is to cultivate an environment in which people are encouraged primarily to live for God and, consequently, to live for others.

Churches are first and foremost to identify themselves as servants of God. With this in mind, churches are understood to exist as countercultural missional communities.[3]  In other words, churches are sent into the world as agents of transformation rather than conformation.[4]  As Jesus came to the world not to condemn the world but to save it,[5] so the church becomes the incarnational witness of God within culture. As a countercultural community, churches will offer restoration and integration to a broken, fragmented world.  This theological principle gives shape to the appropriate strategies needed within local churches in terms of raising-up next generation leaders. 

[1] Snyder suggests the most crucial DNA involves having worship and mission as the central focus of the church. Snyder, 89

[2] 1John 4:10

[3] Snyder, 92

[4] Snyder, 92; Romans 12:1-2

[5] John 3:16; 1 Timothy 1:15, Psalm 104:30

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