Generation To Generation

May 14, 2019
by Gail Lundquist

Psalm 145:4 – One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts. (NKJV)

Over a lifetime of moves and other changes along the way, I have been a part of several churches. My current church was once very large, but as is true of many churches today, it has diminished significantly in numbers over the years. The reasons for shrinking church attendance can be varied. One reason is that older, stalwart church members often become disgruntled when music and worship styles change, and they leave, hoping to find a dream church that still uses hymnbooks rather than projection on a screen, and an organ rather than a worship band. Nonetheless, if I were given the choice between a congregation of white-hairs singing out of hymnals and a congregation of young people with coffee mugs in hand, I'd choose the younger congregation in a flash.

It encourages me to realize that the thread of the gospel has remained unbroken down through the centuries since the early church. It has at times seemingly been at risk of breaking, snarling, twisting, knotting, or stretching, but the scarlet thread of redemption has woven its way down through the centuries. It has outlasted Nero and Hitler. It has withstood disputing church councils, the Crusades, the Dark Ages, times of war, doctrinal disputes, denominational divisions, coldness of heart, and unbelief. It has survived Woodstock, Watergate, Vietnam, Y2K, 9/11, and Facebook. It will survive whatever other challenges Satan, society, and the culture of the time will try to throw in its path.

Today's older church members took the torch which was passed on to them by their parents' generation and have faithfully carried it for their generation's lap of the great race. Moses passed his torch on to Joshua, Elijah to Elisha, David to Solomon, Paul to Timothy, and so on. It is the natural order of things for an older generation to give way to a younger generation. Older people can do that gracefully, or they can grouse and complain every step of the way.

Do I like every new change in my church? Of course not. But God will faithfully maintain and sustain His church. My personal plan of action is to pray for and encourage my young church leaders and trust them to carry on the work of the church as God leads them to do.

Our generation can confidently pass this torch on to the next generation, who will in due time — perhaps with their own feeling of trepidation — hand it off to those following behind them. (I was amused to hear a young pastor in his 30s refer to a younger-yet pastor in his 20s as a "skinny jeans pastor"!)

Let's be a generation that encourages our young leaders and makes a smooth transition in passing on the torch to the next generation.

3 John 1:4 – I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (NKJV)

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, give us grace and wisdom in being flexible as we see many changes coming in our churches. May we be encouraging and supportive of our upcoming young leaders as we entrust the work of the church into their hands. Amen.

About the author:

Gail Lundquist <gail10833@gmail.com>
Portland, Oregon, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Cool.


    Thank you, Gail, for this encouragement to us older folks!


    Been there done that. These are challenging times for the church.


    Amen indeed!! Thanks for your writing. May God continue to guide your writings.


    Amen Gail, thank you for today’s devotional. I pray you will share many more with us.


    Good morning
    Thank you for your very positive uplifting encouraging message.


    Dear Gail,
    Thank you for a very timely devotional. God bless you.
    Keep writing.


    Dear Gail, thank you for sharing your observations and encouragement that churches will survive and have survived for a very long time through many difficult stages. Blessings.


    Gail,
    I like your effort. However here in Ontario, Canada the younger people are not attending Church.
    It seems to be hockey, football or nothing.


    Hi
    Thanks, I couldn’t agree with you more. The odd old hymn is nice to hear mind you but yes, to have the younger generation in church praising and worshipping God is exciting!!!
    God bless.


    We oldsters are already saved – we need to do whatever it takes to allow the younger ones to know God, not cling on to the things that make us comfortable.
    Thanks for your message.


    Well said, Gail. I am in my early 70’s and sing with the Praise Team at our early more contemporary service at our church. I praise God for the gift of music – be it hymns or contemporary. I also sang in a church choir for many years. Thanks for writing. Blessings.


    O, GAIL! How absolutely wonderful, the way you trace the handing down of our faith and the gospel through the generations! Memorable! I shall not forget this one! The ‘scarlet thread of redemption’ is a particularly visual encouragement. Grateful for your understanding and wisdom this morning.


    Amen to that! The important thing to pass on is the Love of God, in Christ, which is the bare bones Gospel/Good News. We are created beings, loved, cherished, led, protected, forgiven, receivers of grace and heading for our true home, with Him. May our behaviour reflect the Good News, not just our own preferences


    Hi there,
    Just wondering why your prayer was not ended “in Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN”. I find others on this site doing the same – whatever happened to his promise – “whatsoever you shall ask in my Name – that will I do”?
    Daily reader on this site.


    Dear Gail,
    Thank you for calling my heart to order as an older adult. Creatures of habit we have become. It is easy to think everything should continue to be done that way we get it. I appreciate the perspective you have drawn out your devotion. It will make life for me at church easier. And I will feel more comfortable with all the changes.


    Thank you, Gail.
    That is so true in what you mention in today’s devotional.
    I will share it with a few of my elders.
    For there is no shame in the time they carried the torch.
    We should be proud of their service.
    Thank you again,
    (Quebec)


    Good morning Gail, What a good and thoughtful commentary on the state of the church past and present. I particularly liked the picture of white hairs singing out of a hymn book or the younger ones with coffee mugs in hand singing their worship songs with a praise band.
    Now that I am white haired myself, I too must get used to the changes in worship.
    God bless you.


    Thank you, Gail, for sharing this devotional with us. Boy, did you bring back memories for me. I remember having brown hair, no wrinkles, and being impatient with the grey haired, hymnal bound! Now I’m the grey haired one who muttered last Sunday about a substitute preacher having us page through a hymnal instead of looking up at words projected on a screen! Are you laughing with me yet? Times change but the human heart remains resistant to change. Again, thanks for sharing. Blessings.


    Greetings Gail,
    Thanks for writing this devotional relating to the very current situation in so many of our churches nowadays. It is so true that we must be “flexible” and accept change which doesn’t happen easily. May God give us an open mind, that we may give encouragement to the younger generation and be understanding of their way of praise. Blessings for writing about the generational changes.
    (B.C.)


    Hi Gail,
    Timely devotional. Here too, in our denomination, there are many dropouts, in most cases reason unknown, other than apathy and being busy!
    In my humble opinion, the “Gimmicks” don’t bring people to church. The bringing of the gospel in an easy to understand, reverent and meaningful way will.
    Thank you for writing, Blessings.


    Gail, your devotional put such a smile on my face! My husband and l really enjoy our church which has a young dynamic feel with a worship band, sound and lights, skinny jeans – the works! My husband loves it, but he doesn’t want to wear skinny jeans because he thinks he will look like a “musician”. This is an important message – the torch of the gospel and teaching has been passed down from generation to generation and neither man nor hell has been able to come against it. Thank you for sharing this devotional with us and reminding us that we too play a part in passing the torch down. Blessings.


    For me the ideal is:
    All the generations together, each has its own gifts to share.
    e.g. Why not hymnbooks available for those who prefer them?
    Younger people are often the visionaries and risk takers. Older people have wisdom and experience to help dreams come true.
    The Spirit will draw them together when he is listened to.


    Your devotional is so meaningful today. We have a new pastor preaching for “the call” and he will have a very different style from our previous ministers. Our elderly congregation needs to be open to change; we have some seniors who like to grouse as you suggested but hopefully, they are not the majority.
    Blessings.

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