Alan Scott is the Lead Pastor at Causeway Coast Vineyard who has written an article called “We are losing a Generation” I recommend reading the whole article (link at bottom), because Alan challenges us to not only look to the young in our churches but also to the older generation.
The following is an extract from his article:
“What if God wanted to use those who are elderly to reach those who are emerging?”
“Most of us have heard the “toms” story; a young entrepreneur had a dream to awaken social conscience through the brilliant business idea of “toms” shoes, one for one, where people in underdeveloped countries can have free shoes. It caught our imagination and fuelled great compassion and innovation. It justifiably gains attention. It’s a brilliant story/movement.
I also love the other Tom’s story. I am talking about Tom in our community who came to faith less than two years ago. He encountered the Kingdom as God healed his body. It was enough to recalibrate his heart, and at the age of 81, Tom believed.
A year later Tom applied for our Encounter school of mission. When I heard he had applied I was surprised. The course is specifically designed to create a climate of risk. Upon reflection I realised that although it was a little late for a gap year, Tom was perfectly positioned to live a life of risk. Aged 81 there weren’t many people who didn’t know Tom in our town. He had already established a fine reputation. He had a lot to lose. Yet he embraced the risk and at 82 years old stepped into learning again.
He started the course in September with one goal: to lead someone to Jesus.
In February 2014 God granted Tom the desire of his heart. As I write, Tom has now led 11 people to Jesus, many of whom are part of the emerging generation who we are desperately creating programs and tinkering with theology in an effort to reach. And I wonder if while we keep searching for methods to engage a generation, God might have His women and men, like Tom, already in place to bring life across all generations.
I can’t help wondering whether the young are tired of the advertisers and the media, tuning out the voice of their fathers, but still open to the voice of grandfathers like Tom. It may well be a romantic notion, yet what if God wanted to use those who are elderly to reach those who are emerging? What if God was turning the hearts of the Fathers towards the children? What if those who have gone before us are carrying something for those who come after us?
[Alan brings his article to a close with these words:]
“And to my friends and mentors who are journeying faith in their old age…
Please don’t pass on the baton just yet. Your race is not yet run and we need your voice now more than ever. You are alive at a time of unprecedented amounts of people living longer because God wants to reveal his salvation to the old as well as the young.
Please don’t bury your promise with you.
We are losing a generation but we don’t have to, and it was never meant to be that way.