Which generation is the most important?
Marketing people in the western world love to group people into various generations. Are you part of the youthful, digital-native Gen Z, tech savvy and never without your mobile phone? Or are you on the other end of the spectrum in The Silent Generation, more prone to write a letter and uncomfortable with voicemail? Or you may see yourself fitting in the middle somewhere, into the Baby Boomers, Gen X or the Millennials?
Whichever generation is yours, this morning I’m going to tell you something you’ve never known about all these generations. I’m going to tell you which one is most important.
But first, welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert,” I’m glad you’re here. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better ! Please help spread the word, will you?
Today’s verse tells us to MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS.
How does that verse help me determine which generation is most important? It identifies a key characteristic.
There is a generation that’s actually called “the Greatest Generation” because they lived through the Great Depression and many of them fought in World War II. Well, they may be the greatest, but they are not the most important. Nor is the generation that Australians call “The Builders” (but most others know as “The Silent Generation”), folks who are between 75-95 today. Most of them held one job for life, which sounds almost unbelievable today; but that doesn’t make them the most important. Neither are the “Baby Boomers” who grew up with VCRs and their phones attached to their kitchen walls, nor the latch-key kids of “Gen X” who made email a thing. Gen Z-ers may have adopted the name iGen (because their focus is often very much on themselves), but they don’t get the nod for being the most important generation either. And while the Snowflake Generation gets an award for participation, being “special” doesn’t make them the most important, either.
Well, if you’ve been counting along on your fingers, it would seem that I’ve pretty much run out of generations living today. But not so!
Before I unveil the winner, let me point out that to MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS among the diversity of all these generations is going to be tough work. FUN, but tough. I happen to believe that nothing is as much fun as changing the world with people you love! But to reach every generation in every nation requires partnership, planning and sacrifice by the “Capital ‘C’ Church.” (That’s everyone who has made the decision to follow Jesus.) Because making disciples happens in the context of a local church. LIFE CHURCH, the folks who make the Bible App available for free put it this way. “We are all about the capital “C” church. The local church is the hope of the world and we know we can accomplish infinitely more together than apart.”
Making disciples means teaching them to follow Jesus well. It involves baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded. It demands development – personal, spiritual development. And the only test in scripture that proves solid development and spiritual maturity is effective reproduction. Kind of like physical life.
The Bible takes the long view on this. The apostle Paul told Timothy, one of his disciples, to take the things he had learned from Paul and entrust them to faithful men who would teach others also. That’s four generations in one sentence! Paul, Timothy, the disciples Timothy would train, and the next generation after that.
So which is the most important generation? It’s the next one!! It is the generation who has yet to hear the message of grace, the one who needs to be taught to love Jesus, and grow up in Him to reproduce what has been entrusted to them and then deliberately pass it on … to yet another “next generation.”
President Ronald Reagan once famously said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” The same is true of faith. Since Reagan was also a man of faith, I don’t think he’d mind my adapting his point.
We don’t pass faith to our children in our bloodstream, we only pass faith along with Christ’s blood. Each person must hear the message of Christ’s gift of grace, and each be encouraged to respond in faith. The next generation is the most important, because they have yet to hear. They must be fought for, protected as they grow; and have the call to MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS handed on for them to do the same.
The NEXT GENERATION is the most important. They are why we must MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS.