We Lack Respect
First off, can we agree that God was moving mightily well before Mark Driscoll ever put a plaid shirt on and yelled at people? I’m being a bit facetious but I am trying to make a point and that is this; although we see God moving in amazing ways through the new resurgence of young Christians, that doesn’t mean God wasn’t moving prior. How do I know? Well, people got saved. We look at the philosophy of ministry used in the past and think, “That mess would never work today.” For some methods, that may be true. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t work then. The younger generation is so big on contextualization. It seems to me like those methods were contextualized towards the generation at that time, and like I said before, people got saved. Did they do everything right? No. Are you going to? Absolutely not. In the end, we must realize that it is not really our methods as much as our dependence on the Spirit of God to intervene that will truly cause transformation in one’s soul.
We Think We Are Going To Get It Right
We better start showing some grace for the older generation and fast because if we don’t, we are going to have our foot in our mouth in about two to three decades. If we think that we’re not going to drop the ball in certain areas as well, we are deceived. That is the beauty of God’s mission and vision for the gospel. God entrusted the most beautiful life-giving message in the world to selfish, hypocritical, prideful people that are growing closer to the image of God from one degree of glory to another. Bluntly, God put precious gold in trash cans. God uses those that are weak and worthless in the world just to testify, “I can glorify myself even through the most unworthy and unlikely people.” We, as young Christians, feel like it is our duty to make sure we “save” Christianity. First, let’s realize that we have the same intentions as every Christian group that has gone before us; to proclaim the gospel, bring people to Christ, and glorify God. However, just like Peter, who still fell into partiality soon after Jesus himself made him the rock to build God’s church on, we will unfortunately fail at times. Since we are sinful people, we will get things wrong as well. We must not be a generation that only knows what we are against in the church but never knows what we are for. We think we are experts on ecclesiology because we know what we wouldn’t do! Bruce Wesley gave a good visual of this when he said, “If you get in a car and you know every place you don’t want to go, that doesn’t mean you know where you want to go. You are still just parked in a car.” Our biggest worry in ministry should not be that those before us have failed to perfectly look like Christ, it should be that there are those out there that do not know Christ at all.
We Know Too Much
If I hear one more person say, “Well, I don’t think I’m going to go to seminary. Matt Chandler didn’t.” I may have to pray about bringing Proverbs 18:5 to fruition, which states, “A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating.” News flash, you’re not Matt Chandler. Matt Chandler is not the norm. He is the exception. I love, in which I actually mean despise, when the person saying this is not involved in their local church at all, lazy when it comes to studying the Word of God, and doesn’t really have any real vision for his ministry rather than, “I just want to preach.” I question why people like this even want to pastor; for God’s glory or theirs? Pastoring is not preaching. It’s far more than preaching. And just to clarify, this isn’t an argument for seminary. It’s a concern for young Christians that think they are fully equipped to bypass being doctrinally sound just because they have listened to podcasts and memorized the five points of Calvinism.
Through the flood of social media, the gospel is being proclaimed quicker and in more domains than ever before. My generation has access to free sermons or teachings by the finest pastors and professors this world has to offer at the click of a button. This is great but like all good things, it can also be damaging. Today, there are drones of young Christians that can easily quote Lewis, Calvin, Luther, and Augustine all the way to Chandler, Driscoll, Tullian, and Piper. I only have two concerns to watch out for and that is dependence and pride. Dependence, because we must not fall into the position where we can read a verse and know what every other pastor says on it, but be a stranger to what God has impressed on our heart. We must not live vicariously through other’s faith. And pride because we are young. This wealth of knowledge at this age is just begging for Satan to birth pride within us. But let’s remember, just like the 16 year old kid who got a BMW as his first car in high school, you’re not cool. Blessed, but not cool.
There is a war out there, and it’s not between Christian camps. In fact, let’s look at war. When an army is sent to battle, who is sent to fight? The youth. But who gives direction? The more seasoned wise leaders. When these two generations are divorced in the church, potential is lost. Cross-generational movements happen when the older generation believes in the younger generation and the younger generation respects the older generation. My generation loves to quote 1 Timothy 4:12, ”Let no one despise you for your youth,” but rarely do we even quote or care for rest of the verse after the comma, “but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” Let’s give the older generation the respect they deserve and a reason to believe in us.