THE FUTURE OF OUR CREATIVE MINORITY
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9
In our last reflection, we discussed how the early church became a creative minority within Israel and the rest of the Roman Empire and how God uses creative minorities as remnants that host and usher in revival for the surrounding culture.
In this our final first seek reflection, we want to talk about a critical but often overlooked factor in how the early church went from 120 believers huddled in the upper room to a global movement that spread to multiple continents and took over the Roman Empire.
It took time. In fact, it took nearly 300 years for Christianity to be made a legal religion in the Roman Empire. 300 years is somewhere in the ballpark of 12-15 generations. The patient ferment of the early church that spread exponentially through the Roman Empire took 12-15 generations to accomplish. And the faith had to be passed on to the next generation.
The rise of Christianity was an intergenerational relay race. And because of this, the early Church, led by the Spirit, took very seriously the process of raising up and discipling each successive generation of believers.
If we want to see the gospel and the Kingdom grow in a sustained way in our own time, not only will we need to recover our creative minority mojo, but we will need to take our children seriously, prioritizing their discipleship. According to the most recent Barna study, 50% of youth who are actively involved in church in high school will walk away from their faith after college. These are not good statistics. But as it turns out, in the same study, children whose parents talk about and practice faith in the home are much more likely to remain Christians as adults. 82% of them, to be exact. What is needed is intentionality, on the part of parents and the church, to prioritize the discipleship of the next generation.
Think of it this way. Revival could come in our time, in this place…but if the church is not committed to raise up the next generation in the way of Jesus, the fruits of revival won’t go multi-generational. So from the beginning, as we seek God for revival, we need to decide if we want this revival to be a flash in the pan…or if we are interested in its fruits and effects going the distance and lasting many generations. And if we want this (which we should) we must prioritize the discipleship of the next generation.
When Moses entered the promised land, Israel was called to be a creative minority amidst the Canaanites, Jebusites, Hivites, Gergashites, Edomites, all the surrounding cultures. These cultures were polytheistic. They practiced fertility rites like ritual prostitution. They practiced child sacrifice. They did not know the LORD, Yahweh, the God of Israel and the one true God of the universe. Israel would have to function for many generations as a creative minority. So God gave Israel the law to help them do this. But then Moses commanded the people with these words:
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.Deuteronomy 6:4-9
The way a creative minority goes multiple generations is by talking about our faith and God with our children.
- If you have children, how have you been intentional (or not) in terms of talking about God with them. How have you been intentional (or not) in their discipleship?
- If you do not have biological or adopted children, who are your spiritual children? Who in the next generation is God calling you to invest in intentionally? To whom is he inviting you to entrust and pass on your faith?
- Who are some young people you can be praying for regularly?
- How could you support parents or the church in discipling young people?
Pray for the next generation, to know and love Jesus, to walk in the way of Jesus.
Pray for young people in your life to have direct encounters with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
Pray for the parents, pastors, and youth leaders in our church to be anointed and empowered and equipped to disciple young people.
Ask the LORD if he wants you to help out with ministry to young people.
Pray for other churches to be equipped and take seriously the discipleship of the next generation.