Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Praise The Lord Ye Heavens Adore Him"1 (Lyrics)
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.