There is no shortage of opinion available to you on social media. I am perosnally engaged in Facebook, Twitter, Periscope and Instagram, and my purpose for those outlets is very simple: communicate Kingdom truth to as broad an audience as possible. It just makes sense to me to go where the people are and it seems that half the world is interconnected via social media. I also benefit from others who share that Kingdom purpose via there social media streams, and not too long ago I came across the ministry of Ed Underwood. Ed pastors Church of The Open Door in southern California and has authored several books including Reborn To Be Wild: Reviving Our Radical Pursuit of Jesus With Ed’s permission I get to share some grace-laced wisdom from his website in today’s blog. I encourage to subscribe to his feed on edunderwood.com and to follow him on Twitter for regular investments of nugget-sized truth into your life. Below is a recent post from Ed which touched on something that becomes more important to me with each passing year: empowering the next generation. Let’s consider if we are thinking enough about what happens in the Kingdom with those who are following behind us. Their hands are stretching out to grasp the leadership baton – are we stretching back in their direction to ensure a healthy handoff? Thanks, Ed!
Risking Community To The Next Generation
– by Ed Underwood
Sooner or later, the ones who always get things done in a local church, the ones who make the key decisions, they will die.
It’s a one-to-one ratio. Everyone in our faith communities will die–pastors, elders, deacons, volunteers, teachers, and everyday serious disciples of Christ–every one of us will die.
A sad reality? Yes. But it doesn’t have to be a desperate problem.
Unless the ones who are closest to the end refuse to risk what Jesus risked: Handing off his community to the next generation.
Jesus’ community is the church. Notice that he didn’t choose one person over forty to birth his church.
Notice also that Jesus’ devoted followers, the Apostles, were constantly building into the next generation. Peter took John Mark under wing, Paul had his Timothy and Titus.
But all the teaching, equipping and modeling is lost if those of us who are on in years refuse to pass through the threshold of trust.
The day will come when we not only speak truth into the next generation, train the next generation, equip the next generation, and encourage the next generation, but we also hand off to them. Until we trust the next generation to do what we’ve been doing all of our talk about loving community and caring about the future of the work of God is just that.
Because we’ve stepped back from the real test of trusting God’s Spirit at work in the next generation.
Until we actually give them voice, space, and ownership, we’re just one more bunch of old Christians clinging to the inertia of institutionalized church.
And we’re the ones who lose, because if we’ve done what Jesus asked us to do–make disciples–we’re missing the greatest earthly joy of community: watching the next generation’s giftedness glorify our Lord.
Last weekend we risked our beloved community, Church of the Open Door, to the next generation.
When I first proposed this radical idea to hand off responsibility for our 100th Centennial Celebration to the next generation there were a few raised eyebrows. I mean this was a big deal. What if they blow it? What if it doesn’t work out? What if? What if? What if?
If you’re reading this and you’re over forty you need to know that you’ll never run out of “what ifs.”
I have some better what ifs:
What if they have creative ideas we would never imagine?
What if they could energize a demographic we’ve lost touch with?
What if they, not us, are on the cutting edge of what the Holy Spirit’s doing in this world?
A TENT, FAMILY, AND HASHTAGS
We risked it.
And rather than blowing it the next generation of Church of the Open Door blew our minds.
With a front row seat to the power of the Spirit in their lives.
They wanted informal, not formal. They wanted family friendly, not program driven. They wanted it outside under a tent, not in the worship center. They wanted to build a memory for their children. And they wanted a hashtag rather than a videographer and a memorial magazine.
I still can’t figure out how to use the #cod100th hashtag, but every time someone under thirty shows me how I can’t believe how spectacular our 100th Anniversary was.
It seems Church of the Open Door’s future is in good hands.