This is a thought I’ve been mulling over the last few weeks and I believe it’s a question that we cannot afford to ignore. It seems clear that we are in a season of strategic importance to God’s plan for building the kingdom.
Think “Great Reformation” level significance.
A new prototype is being formed. The rules of church are being rewritten and Kingdom-minded people are seeing things with a different perspective. There’s a new mindset and a new methodology that has the power to shift society in unprecedented ways.
Obviously, change on that level won’t go unchallenged.
So, how do you destroy a prototype?
Take out the generation that follows.
It makes sense, doesn’t it?
Prototypes are about doing something that has never been done before. With that comes a high level of vulnerability. So the enemy’s goal is to take out the prototype before it becomes the norm.
You can see this strategy with the foundation of the nation of Israel. The book of Joshua is all about prototyping a nation through Kingdom principles. With tireless effort and divine intervention, Joshua and the leaders of that day were able to take the territory God had promised them and establish Israel as a nation. Yet one generation later, things completely fell apart and the nation was in constant peril of being snuffed out.
Look at Judges 2:10:
“After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.”
- They didn’t finish the job. Instead of completely driving out the nations as God had commanded them, they allowed some to remain and began to be influenced by them.
- They failed to include the next generation in the process of taking the land.
- Their string of successes caused them to overlook their vulnerabilities.
- They were focused on the present and not on the future.
And so we see this dramatic shift –one generation experiencing God interacting in their circumstances in a powerful way and the next generation with no connection to God and no personal experience of God acting on their behalf.
We need to learn from this story.
Understanding The Disconnect
As we build out this prototype, we must be cognizant of the warfare that is being unleashed upon the next generation.
Listen to them for a minute and you hear a generation that thinks very differently. Obviously, there is always an element of disconnect between the generations, but this feels different. Even in places where God is moving at a cutting edge pace, it feels like the younger generations are struggling to find their place.
So what do we do?
We need to thoroughly deal with the battles we’ve been assigned:
Think about the rapid cultural shifts that have taken place in the last few years. This didn’t come out of nowhere. We are reaping the mindset shifts that occurred in the 1960’s. The rules about race, sexuality, faith and morality were turned upside down and new ideas were injected into mainstream thinking, shaping the cultural norms we live by today. If we don’t deal with the battles we’ve been assigned, what will the “normal” be for the next generation?
We must make sure to include the next generation in the building process:
As a leader, it’s fun to be on the cutting edge of what God is doing. Type A personalities tend to not be the best teachers, because it’s easier (and also a lot of fun) to just do it yourself. If we don’t include the younger generation, we will fail both them and the prototype God is trying to build through us.
They need to experience God moving on their behalf.
They need to be put in situations where the only way to succeed is by God stepping in.
They need to feel His power moving through them and see the results of a life of power.
If we’re content to let them watch, we’ll fail for sure. As people on the frontlines today, one of our greatest responsibilities is to create a space for these kinds of opportunities. If we aren’t intentional, it won’t happen.
We need to see the long view:
Consider that the battles you’re facing right now might just be a distraction. Think of it as subterfuge to keep your eyes off of what’s really important. Kingdom building won’t happen in just one generation. It’s all about the transfer.
…does the next generation understand it?
…are they committed to taking things to the next level?
…will they build out what we started into something that truly shifts the cultural narrative?
Only time will tell, but in our building we must be sure that we keep the bigger picture in mind.
We must recognize the level of warfare they are facing:
As I said before, this is different. It’s strategic.
We need to diligently pray for the emerging generation. There is tremendous warfare against their identities. They’ve seen the worst of religion and it has affected them in a deeper way than it affected my generation. They have been born into a vastly different cultural reality that affects how they see the world. Instead of being frustrated because they see the world differently, we need to pray that they would connect to God’s plan in the way that He designed them to.
Where the enemy creates a disconnect, we stand in the gap to make the transfer.
Wrapping It Up
This is our watch. We are the glue that connects the generations. The effects of what we do today will be felt 40 years from now. Will you join me in praying for our emerging generation of leaders?
It might be the most important prayer you will ever pray.